pay·​roll | \ ˈpā-ˌrōl How to pronounce payroll (audio) \

Definition of payroll

1 : a paymaster's or employer's list of those entitled to pay and of the amounts due to each
2 : the sum necessary for distribution to those on a payroll also : the money to be distributed

Examples of payroll in a Sentence

They cut him from their payroll. He's the manager of a baseball team with a $50 million payroll. Businesses are keeping their payrolls low by embracing new technologies.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Overall, the Panthers have the seventh-highest payroll in the NHL. Wells Dusenbury,, "‘I’ve never felt a buzz like this’ — Ticket sales, hype building up as Florida Panthers begin training camp," 12 Sep. 2019 It’s by far the biggest payroll in Rockies history. Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post, "Rockies Mailbag: Colorado’s bad record doesn’t trump the “experience” of Coors Field," 10 Sep. 2019 The Sox have the highest payroll in baseball this season at approximately $236 million., "■ Assistant general manager Eddie Romero, who has been with the team since 2006, would be a wise choice to take over. He has a background in scouting and player development and would work well with Alex Cora and the coaching staff.," 10 Sep. 2019 The Labor Department is revising down the number of jobs that employers added to payrolls by 501,000 during the 12-month period that ran from April, 2018 through March of this year. Chris Isidore, CNN, "The US economy created half a million fewer jobs last year than previously thought," 22 Aug. 2019 The agent notes investigators believe Delgado was embezzling money from A&B by adding fraudulent names and Social Security numbers to the payroll and keeping the proceeds. Jeff Amy,, "Mississippi plant owners ‘willfully and unlawfully’ used undocumented workers, according to court documents," 16 Aug. 2019 The agent notes investigators believe Delgado was embezzling money from A&B by adding fraudulent names and Social Security numbers to the payroll and keeping the proceeds. Washington Post, "Documents: Plant owners ‘willfully’ used ineligible workers," 9 Aug. 2019 The agent notes investigators believe Delgado was embezzling money from A&B by adding fraudulent names and Social Security numbers to the payroll and keeping the proceeds. Jeff Amy, Twin Cities, "Mississippi processing plant owners ‘willfully’ used ineligible workers, documents say," 9 Aug. 2019 Since President Donald Trump took office, the federal government has continued to add disabled workers to the payroll, according to the figures currently available. NBC News, "Under Trump, discrimination complaints and firing of disabled federal workers rise," 8 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'payroll.' 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 payroll

1740, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for payroll

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for payroll

The first known use of payroll was in 1740

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More Definitions for payroll



Financial Definition of payroll

What It Is

Payroll is the total of the compensation a company pays to its employees. In the accounting world, it is also a term used for calculating and processing paychecks (as in, "doing payroll").

How It Works

On the income statement, payroll expenses are part of labor costs. They include employee salaries, employer payments for health insurance or similar benefits, payroll taxes paid by the employer, bonuses, commissions and similar expenses.

Doing payroll is a complicated process that involves ensuring that every employee is paid correctly, calculating the appropriate payroll taxes (which can vary with the employee's salary, whether he or she has hit the Social Security cap for the year, etc.), and correctly deducting miscellaneous items (such as court-ordered child support, gym memberships or 401(k) contributions).

Why It Matters

Payroll is a major expense for most companies and is the primary component of labor cost. Labor costs vary by industry, and comparing companies in different industries should be done with this in mind.

In the accounting world, doing payroll is a crucial but often thankless job. The calculations must always be accurate, the paychecks must be printed on time, new and departing employees must be added to or deleted from various processes, and the taxes must be remitted to the proper authorities on time and in the correct amount. As soon as the process ends, it begins again. Many companies outsource some of the work.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of payroll

: a list of the people who work for a company and the amount of money that the company has agreed to pay them
: the total amount of money that a company pays to all of its employees


pay·​roll | \ ˈpā-ˌrōl How to pronounce payroll (audio) \

Kids Definition of payroll

1 : a list of persons who receive pay
2 : the amount of money necessary to pay the employees of a business

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More from Merriam-Webster on payroll

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with payroll

Spanish Central: Translation of payroll

Nglish: Translation of payroll for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of payroll for Arabic Speakers

Comments on payroll

What made you want to look up payroll? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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