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

As the entire island wades through bankruptcy proceedings, many regular Puerto Ricans, including low-level public employees, face the prospect of seeing pension payouts, Christmas bonuses and even sick and vacation days slashed. Fortune, "Puerto Rico's Bankrupt Utility Has No Leader After Pay Scandal," 12 July 2018 State governments have been grappling with tepid revenue growth and heavy pension and Medicaid costs. David Harrison, WSJ, "Many States Are Likely Unprepared for Next Downturn," 8 July 2018 District 207 has also agreed to pay the Teachers Retirement System, which helps arrange retirement pensions and benefits, $92,549 for Haugan’s employment between 1985 and 1987. Jennifer Johnson,, "Retiring Maine West principal gets raise, $16K for unused vacation days, according to agreement," 7 July 2018 Welcome to The Sacramento Bee's weekly state worker newsletter, which will highlight more news on pay, pensions and working conditions for California state workers. Adam Ashton, sacbee, "'Female-dominated' jobs erased in California state government," 27 June 2018 The new contract includes a new tier health insurance, retiree health insurance, pension and sick leave payout structure. Mikaela Porter, Courant Community, "Five Years Without A Contract, West Hartford Police, Town Agree To New Wage, Health Insurance, Pension Plans," 27 June 2018 Any sign of public unions getting politically weaker could energize state and local governments to take action to slash pension and health care benefits, which are a major source of their funding challenges. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "Supreme Court rules against unions: How labor decision will affect union pay, benefits," 27 June 2018 Keep as much money in your retirement accounts as possible by using money from other sources first: Social Security, pensions and other savings. Joseph Radzwill, Houston Chronicle, "Manage savings after retirement to financial security," 15 June 2018 Those increases would help fund a record budget that would boost spending on schools, pensions and mass transit. Terrence Dopp,, "New Jersey Lawmakers Pushing Own Budget Plan Amid Murphy Impasse," 15 June 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

21 Oct 2018

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

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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