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

Examples of repay in a Sentence

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 Earlier this month, a bankruptcy judge granted FTX permission to liquidate its digital assets — valued by the company at around $3.4 billion — to repay customers. Allison Morrow, CNN, 19 Sep. 2023 There are factors that could make the impact smaller: The Biden administration has taken steps to ease the pain, allowing for people with lower incomes to repay their loans more slowly and creating a one-year grace period in which missed payments will not be reported to credit rating agencies. Jason Karaian, New York Times, 17 Sep. 2023 To repay that loan, employers would pay additional taxes. Brian Contreras, Los Angeles Times, 7 Sep. 2023 The development's new property tax revenue, along with payments from Haywood, would repay the loans. Tom Daykin, Journal Sentinel, 5 Sep. 2023 Yet even as money from their Social Security benefits is diverted to repay their loans, some see their balances continue to increase, thanks to interest, the GAO found. Jon Marcus, USA TODAY, 2 Sep. 2023 About 44 million Americans with student debt must soon start repaying their student loans, a change that could impose a financial strain on many households after a three and a half year hiatus. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, 28 Aug. 2023 The bonds would include $24.5 million in taxable certificates of obligation toward the airport’s corporate hangar project and customs facility, both to be repaid with airport revenues. Haeven Gibbons, Dallas News, 6 Sep. 2023 The state would then impose a tax on the local community to repay the loan, a potentially enormous deterrent, since the community had already voted down a bond. Becca Savransky, ProPublica, 6 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'repay.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 3 Oct. 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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