pen·​sion | \ ˈpen(t)-shən \

Definition of pension 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 \ ˈpen(t)-​shən \ : a fixed sum paid regularly to a person:
a archaic : wage
b : a gratuity granted (as by a government) as a favor or reward
c : one paid under given conditions to a person following retirement from service or to surviving dependents

2 \ päⁿ-​ˈsyōⁿ \ [ French, from Middle French ]

a : accommodations especially at a continental European hotel or boardinghouse : room and board
b or less commonly pensione \ pen(t)-​ˈsyō-​(ˌ)nā \ [ pensione, from Italian ] : a hotel or boardinghouse especially in continental Europe


pensioned; pensioning\ ˈpen(t)-​sh(ə-​)niŋ \

Definition of pension (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to grant or pay a pension to
2 : to dismiss or retire from service with a pension pensioned off his faithful old servant

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Other Words from pension


pensionless \ ˈpen(t)-​shən-​ləs \ adjective

Examples of pension in a Sentence


Her pension arrives in the mail every month. retired people living on their pensions

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Her shepherding of the pension plan invited a challenge from the left in a year when the socialist-curious wing of the Democratic Party is particularly energized. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo should be a shoe-in for reelection. But she’s not.," 11 Sep. 2018 Public companies often have thousands of shareholders—ranging from huge pension plans and mutual funds to ordinary retail investors. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Employee email explains Elon Musk’s plan to take Tesla private," 7 Aug. 2018 Most of the early labor battles in the NBA were fought not about player movement but issues such as a pension plan and better medical treatment. Jack Mccallum,, "Go West, Big Man: The Logo on LeBron James and the Allure of Los Angeles," 11 July 2018 Brennand said the union learned from the pension plan, the Kern County Employee Retirement Association, that Judd wanted to enroll new workers in 401(k) plans. Adam Ashton, sacbee, "With court case looming, California unions pack state budget with labor goodies," 22 June 2018 An array of injuries and a two-month stint in the minor leagues last season prevented Brandon Morrow from thinking about reaching the necessary 10 years of service time to be fully vested in Major League Baseball Players’ pension plan. Mark Gonzales,, "Cubs' Brandon Morrow relishes 10 years of major-league service time," 17 June 2018 The draft budget also includes a decrease in the contribution to the city’s pension plan from 9 to 7 percent. Karen Huppertz, ajc, "Duluth adopts Fiscal Year 2019 budget," 15 June 2018 Court documents state Hill's newest crimes include forgery and identity fraud in order to embezzle large sums of his ex-wife's 401(k) pension plan in three separate incidents, resulting in a total of $248,000. Madeline Mitchell,, "Ft. Mitchell man sentenced for embezzling $248,000 from ex-wife's pension plan," 11 June 2018 The New York retirement fund, the third largest public pension plan in the U.S., holds close to $200 billion in assets. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, "Institutional investors urge companies to stay away from ANWR," 14 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Probably to help the dangerous situation in the northwest, a local aristocrat, Sir William Brereton managed to have the Abbot’s death sentence cancelled and he and his canons were pensioned off with the closure of Norton Abbey. James Rogers, Fox News, "King of rage: Henry VIII’s bloodthirsty letter demands monk’s brutal death," 2 May 2018 The elderly could be pensioned off, the young dispatched to college and those who had jobs sent back to work. The Economist, "Fifteen years after America’s invasion, Iraq is doing well," 28 Mar. 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1598, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pension


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin pension-, pensio, from pendere to pay — more at pendant

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Dictionary Entries near pension

pen shell







Statistics for pension

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pension

The first known use of pension was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for pension



English Language Learners Definition of pension

: an amount of money that a company or the government pays to a person who is old or sick and no longer works


pen·​sion | \ ˈpen-shən \

Kids Definition of pension

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a sum paid regularly to a person who has retired from work


pensioned; pensioning

Kids Definition of pension (Entry 2 of 2)

: to grant or give a regularly paid sum to (a person who has retired from work)



Legal Definition of pension 

: money paid under given conditions to a person following retirement or to surviving dependents — see also defined benefit plan, defined contribution plan

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Comments on pension

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a person who helps groups work together

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