pay·​wall | \ˈpā-ˌwȯl \

Definition of paywall 

: a system that prevents Internet users from accessing certain Web content without a paid subscription

Examples of paywall in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The Athletic has shown flexibility around its paywall in attempts to hire big-name writers. Benjamin Mullin, WSJ, "Sports Site The Athletic Expands Aggressively, Betting on Subscriptions," 4 June 2018 The group discussed whether a Facebook user should hit a paywall on Post content after clicking on three, five or 10 articles. Nellie Bowles, New York Times, "Is Facebook’s Campbell Brown a Force to Be Reckoned With? Or Is She Fake News?," 21 Apr. 2018 Spotify agreed to keep some albums behind a temporary paywall in exchange for better royalty rates. Peter Kafka, Recode, "You can listen to the new Beyonce and Jay-Z album on Spotify and Apple Music now," 18 June 2018 Some Subs Are Bigger Than Others Everyone’s getting in on the paywall game nowadays. Lara O’reilly, WSJ, "CMO Today: Cambridge Analytica Shutting Down; Bloomberg Announces Paywall; Spotify’s Ad Business Grows," 3 May 2018 Read the complete story here (metered paywall story). Greg Larose,, "FEMA promised Puerto Rico 30 million meals; it got 50,000: report," 6 Feb. 2018 Block Club Chicago will employ a metered subscription, where readers will see a few stories for free each month before the website goes behind a paywall. Robert Channick,, "Block Club Chicago gets DNAinfo archives, website from WNYC," 28 June 2018 The Athletic, based in San Francisco, is among media companies turning to paywalls as a remedy for online-advertising woes. Benjamin Mullin, WSJ, "Sports Site The Athletic Expands Aggressively, Betting on Subscriptions," 4 June 2018 The big three national papers --The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Washington Post -- have already enjoyed major successes with paywalls. Jon Chesto,, "The Christian Science Monitor builds a paywall," 8 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of paywall

2004, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for paywall

pay entry 1 + firewall

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about paywall

Statistics for paywall

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for paywall

The first known use of paywall was in 2004

See more words from the same year

Comments on paywall

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


full of whispering sounds

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!