verb re·pay \ (ˌ)rē-ˈpā \
|Updated on: 9 Aug 2018

Definition of repay

repaid play \(ˌ)rē-ˈpād\; repaying
1 a : to pay back
  • repay a loan
b : to give or inflict in return or requital
  • repay evil for evil
2 : to make a return payment to : compensate, requite
3 : to make requital for : recompense
  • the success that repays hard work
: to make return payment or requital


play \(ˌ)rē-ˈpā-ə-bəl\ adjective


play \(ˌ)rē-ˈpā-mənt\ noun

Examples of repay in a Sentence

  1. You can repay the mortgage over 30 years.

  2. She would rather have to repay the bank than borrow from her parents and have to repay them.

  3. How can I ever repay your kindness?

  4. How can I ever repay you for your kindness?

Recent Examples of repay from the Web

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.

First Known Use of repay

15th century

in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

See Words from the same year
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Synonym Discussion of 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

Financial Definition of REPAY


What It Is

Repayment usually refers to the payments on a debt.

How It Works

Under the terms of a loan, repayment can have different schedules and requirements. For example, a loan may be amortized over a specific period of time, requiring regular repayments. The repayments would be divided between the interest (i.e. the interest on the outstanding loan amount) and the principal repayment (i.e. the remaining amount of the periodic payment that is used to reduce the outstanding loan amount). At the same time, a loan term may be amortized over a longer period of time than the due date on the loan.  In this case, a loan will require a "balloon repayment" (i.e. the amount of principal not yet repaid will be due in full at the end of the term). In either case, all payments on the loan are called repayments.

Why It Matters

For both a borrower and a lender, the breakdown of repayments into principal and interest are very important. For a business, the interest portion of the repayment on a business loan is tax deductible. The principal is not.   For a lender, the interest portion of the repayment is treated as income.  The principal is not.

REPAY Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of repay for English Language Learners

  • : to pay back (money that you have borrowed)

  • : to make a payment to (a person or organization that has loaned you money)

  • : to do or give something in return for (something) : to provide something in return for (work, effort, etc.)

REPAY Defined for Kids


verb re·pay \ rē-ˈpā \

Definition of repay for Students

repaid \-ˈpād\; repaying
1 : to pay back
  • repay a loan
2 : to do or give something in return
  • How can I repay the favor?

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