re·​pay (ˌ)rē-ˈpā How to pronounce repay (audio)
repaid (ˌ)rē-ˈpād How to pronounce repay (audio) ; repaying

transitive verb

: to pay back
repay a loan
: to give or inflict in return or requital
repay evil for evil
: to make a return payment to : compensate, requite
: to make requital for : recompense
the success that repays hard work

intransitive verb

: to make return payment or requital
repayable adjective
repayment noun
Choose the Right Synonym for repay

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

Example Sentences

You can repay the mortgage over 30 years. She would rather have to repay the bank than borrow from her parents and have to repay them. How can I ever repay your kindness? How can I ever repay you for your kindness?
Recent Examples on the Web Against our will, we are forced to support the purchase of $6 billion in bonds and repay it all by 2050. Dallas News, 9 Dec. 2022 Montenegro took out the $944 million loan in 2014 as part of the plan, but was later unable to repay it, as the construction dragged on and debts accumulated, throwing the country into a financial crisis. Raf Casert, ajc, 28 Oct. 2022 Without the license to use U.S. banks to pay its debts, Russia would have no ability to repay its international bond investors. Ken Sweet And Fatima Hussein, Anchorage Daily News, 24 May 2022 Russia plans to use dollars to repay foreign investors in a $2 billion bond maturing next week, according to a person familiar with the matter., 30 Mar. 2022 The protests emerged after accusations of the company failing to repay investors, many of whom are its own employees, for wealth products reaching maturity. Jane Li, Quartz, 15 Sep. 2021 Nor is there necessarily someone to repay investors when hackers find a vulnerability in the smart contracts or other aspects of a DeFi service. Kevin Werbach, The Conversation, 5 Aug. 2021 When a work sold, the fee split — as outlined in the contract — was 40 percent to the artist; 32 percent to other artists in that pool; and 28 percent to cover costs and repay investors. New York Times, 27 July 2021 Gearhart and his associates wouldn’t invest their clients’ money, instead using it to repay other investors and for personal use, according to the release. Alexandra Kukulka,, 14 July 2021 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of repay was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near repay

Cite this Entry

“Repay.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


re·​pay (ˈ)rē-ˈpā How to pronounce repay (audio)
repaid -ˈpād How to pronounce repay (audio) ; repaying
: to pay back
repay a loan
: to make a return payment to
repay a creditor
repayable adjective
repayment noun

More from Merriam-Webster on repay

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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