pay

verb (1)
\ ˈpā How to pronounce pay (audio) \
paid\ ˈpād How to pronounce paid (audio) \ also in sense 7 payed; paying

Definition of pay

 (Entry 1 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to make due return to for services rendered or property delivered paid the pizza deliverer
b : to engage for money : hire You couldn't pay me to do that. paid a teenager to mow his lawn
2a : to give in return for goods or service pay wages
b : to discharge indebtedness for : settle pay a bill
c : to make a disposal or transfer of (money) paid a few dollars weekly into a savings account
3 : to give or forfeit in expiation or retribution pay the penalty
4a : to make compensation (see compensation sense 2) for His trouble was well paid in the end.
b : to requite according to what is deserved pay them back
5 : to give, offer, or make freely or as fitting pay attention pay your respects
6a : to return value or profit to it pays you to stay open
b : to bring in as a return an investment paying five percent
7 : to slacken (something, such as a rope) and allow to run out used with out paid out the rope as it jerked taut

intransitive verb

1 : to discharge a debt or obligation I'll pay when I have the money.
2 : to be worth the expense or effort crime doesn't pay
3 : to suffer the consequences of an act He paid for his crime.
pay one's dues
1 : to earn a right or position through experience, suffering, or hard work He's paid his dues and deserves a promotion.
2 or less commonly pay dues : pay sense intransitive 3
pay one's way or pay one's own way
: to pay one's share of expenses She took a part-time job to pay her own way through college.
pay the piper
: to bear the cost of something You have to do what they say because they are paying the piper.
pay through the nose
: to pay exorbitantly or dearly I found the perfect dress, but I had to pay through the nose for it.

pay

noun

Definition of pay (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : something paid for a purpose and especially as a salary or wage : remuneration
2a : the act or fact of paying or being paid
b : the status of being paid by an employer : employ
3 : a person viewed with respect to reliability or promptness in paying debts or bills
4a : ore or a natural deposit that yields metal and especially gold in profitable amounts
b : an oil-yielding stratum or zone

pay

adjective

Definition of pay (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : containing or leading to something precious or valuable
2 : equipped with a coin slot for receiving a fee for use a pay telephone
3 : requiring payment

pay

verb (2)
payed also paid; paying

Definition of pay (Entry 4 of 4)

transitive verb

: to coat with a waterproof composition

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Choose the Right Synonym for pay

Verb (1)

pay, compensate, remunerate, satisfy, reimburse, indemnify, repay, recompense mean to give money or its equivalent in return for something. pay implies the discharge of an obligation incurred. paid their bills compensate implies a making up for services rendered. an attorney well compensated for her services remunerate clearly suggests paying for services rendered and may extend to payment that is generous or not contracted for. promised to remunerate the searchers handsomely satisfy implies paying a person what is required by law. all creditors will be satisfied in full reimburse implies a return of money that has been spent for another's benefit. reimbursed employees for expenses indemnify implies making good a loss suffered through accident, disaster, warfare. indemnified the families of the dead miners repay stresses paying back an equivalent in kind or amount. repay a favor with a favor recompense suggests due return in amends, friendly repayment, or reward. passengers were recompensed for the delay

Examples of pay in a Sentence

Noun

He has been suspended without pay pending the results of the investigation. Each pay period begins on the first of the month. Workers received a $4,000 pay increase. I took a significant pay cut when I took this job, but I think it was worth it.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Because the government has a lot of money to give away and wants to reward people who pay their bills on time, McConnell said. cleveland.com, "Senior scams on the rise as new cons emerge: Here’s how to protect yourself," 30 June 2019 After immigration authorities tried to arrest a young man who was paying a traffic ticket at City Hall in April, word spread quickly through this city, where a third of the residents are foreign-born. Christina Goldbaum, New York Times, "When Paying a Traffic Ticket Can End in Deportation," 30 June 2019 But beverage companies also have worked for decades against one of the most effective recycling practices: deposit programs that pay a nickel or dime for each bottle returned. Bob Tita, WSJ, "Drink Makers Seek More Recycled Plastic," 30 June 2019 And Verlander just signed an extension that will pay him $33 million in each of the next two seasons. Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, "Here's why ex-Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer is underpaid at $42 million a year," 29 June 2019 Rating: Mostly true Mr. Trump's tax law does disproportionately benefit wealthier people -- who pay overall more in taxes -- than lower-income families. CBS News, "Fact check: The first Democratic primary debate, Day 2," 28 June 2019 The Nuggets have taken on some long-term projects that could pay dividends this year. Mike Singer, The Denver Post, "Nuggets free agency 2019: What to know as NBA’s signing season begins," 28 June 2019 Another suspect, Alberto Rodriguez Mota, who allegedly paid for the hit, was also arrested while on a boat trying to flee to Puerto Rico, authorities said. Doha Madani, NBC News, "Alleged organizer in David Ortiz shooting arrested in Dominican Republic," 28 June 2019 Who should pay and who should be eligible for benefits? Michael Tanner, National Review, "The Wrenching Reparations Question," 26 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Those with five years or less of experience will see 3 percent increase to their pay. Tyler Johnson, Houston Chronicle, "Pearland ISD OKs raises for teachers, staff," 28 June 2019 Moderators working for an Accenture subsidiary in Austin are also making a fresh push to improve their pay and other work arrangements, Elizabeth reports. Rachel Van Dongen, Washington Post, "The Technology 202: Andrew Yang's tie-less debate performance makes a statement," 28 June 2019 For well over a decade, their workforce had become wholly dependent on their overtime pay. Peter Dunn, USA TODAY, "Pete the Planner: Could giving my daughter some extra cash hurt her independence?," 25 June 2019 Many Liberian civil servants have told us that their pay is being cut or their paychecks delayed, prompting struggles to pay rent and school fees for their children. Jessica Eise, Quartz Africa, "How foreign aid helped and hurt one of the world’s poorest countries," 21 June 2019 Progress and Setbacks Several days a week, Matias left work early and arrived late, cutting into his pay, to make it to visits, therapy, classes and random drug tests in his quest to gain custody of his son. Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, "For generations, Illinois’ child welfare agency has failed to adequately serve Spanish-speaking families with children in its care.," 20 June 2019 Many Liberian civil servants have told us that their pay is being cut or their paychecks delayed, prompting struggles to pay rent and school fees for their children. Jessica Eise, The Conversation, "How an aid gusher helped and hurt Liberia," 14 June 2019 The main budget bill must be sent to the governor by Saturday night or legislators will lose their pay. George Skelton, latimes.com, "Don’t like Newsom’s state budget? Blame California Republicans," 13 June 2019 Jones reported to training camp on time after Atlanta boosted his 2018 pay by $2.9 million and pledged to get a new deal done this offseason. Mark Inabinett | Minabinett@al.com, al.com, "Back at practice, Julio Jones not concerned about contract negotiations," 11 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pay.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pay

Verb (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1856, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

1610, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pay

Verb (1), Noun, and Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French paier, from Latin pacare to pacify, from pac-, pax peace

Verb (2)

obsolete French peier, from Latin picare, from pic-, pix pitch — more at pitch

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Dictionary Entries near pay

Pax Romana

pax vobiscum

paxwax

pay

Paya

payability

payable

Statistics for pay

Last Updated

3 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pay

The first known use of pay was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for pay

pay

noun

English Language Learners Definition of pay

: money received in exchange for work : money paid to someone for doing work

pay

verb
\ ˈpā How to pronounce pay (audio) \
paid\ ˈpād \; paying

Kids Definition of pay

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to give (as money) in return for services received or for something bought Pay the taxi driver. I paid for a ticket.
2 : to give money for (something owed) I have to pay the rent.
3 : to get even with She wants to pay them back for the insult.
4 : to give or offer freely pay a compliment pay attention
5 : to have a worthwhile result : be worth the effort or pains required It pays to drive carefully.
pay off
1 : to give all of what is owed It felt good to pay off a debt.
2 : to have a good result Hours of practice paid off in a successful show.
pay up
: to pay in full especially debts that are due

Other Words from pay

payer noun

pay

noun

Kids Definition of pay (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act of giving money for something bought or used or for what is owed : payment
2 : salary My mother got an increase in pay.

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More from Merriam-Webster on pay

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pay

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pay

Spanish Central: Translation of pay

Nglish: Translation of pay for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pay for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pay

Comments on pay

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