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

Definition of repay

transitive verb

1a : 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

intransitive verb

: to make return payment or requital

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Other Words from repay

repayable \ (ˌ)rē-​ˈpā-​ə-​bəl How to pronounce repay (audio) \ adjective
repayment \ (ˌ)rē-​ˈpā-​mənt How to pronounce repay (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for repay


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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?
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Recent Examples on the Web But Legacy's school board, which manages all of those schools and several others, reversed course, voting in mid-October to repay $4.1 million in PPP loans for the six schools, records show. Craig Harris, USA TODAY, "Arizona charter school got a PPP loan, gave $10 million to shareholder," 21 Dec. 2020 Despite calls by some for his suspension or firing, the mayor issued the chief a formal letter of reprimand and required him to repay the city roughly $3,300 for repairs to his Chevrolet Tahoe. Rebecca Lurye,, "Homicide ‘dead pool’ further divides Hartford police and community, setting back progress on reforms," 10 Dec. 2020 But sponsors, particularly those who are not immediate family, often ask minors to repay them for the travel costs, plus a share of rent and other bills. Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, "Inside the Lives of Immigrant Teens Working Dangerous Night Shifts in Suburban Factories," 19 Nov. 2020 In 2018, Sri Lanka, unable to repay Chinese loans, surrendered its major port to China. New York Times, "China Extends Reach in the Caribbean, Unsettling the U.S.," 8 Nov. 2020 The domestic scale goes from triple-A down to single-C and the lowest rung is for issuers who are unable to repay their debts. Serena Ng, WSJ, "More Corporate Bonds Are Rated Triple-A in China Despite Coronavirus Pandemic," 21 Oct. 2020 Garrett’s torrid start, fueled by his desire to repay the Browns for standing by him, has the NFL taking notice of the team this season. cleveland, "Why Chris Long stuck by Myles Garrett, thinks he’s a Hall of Famer, and how the incident impacts his legacy," 17 Oct. 2020 Of the nearly $215,000 the jury awarded Margeson under the lemon law, $72,564.04 was in compensatory damages that essentially repay Margeson for his truck, which was among the priciest on the market at the time. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Appeals court: Ford committed fraud by selling defective Super Duty trucks," 13 Oct. 2020 Thor abruptly filed for bankruptcy after failing to repay Sunrise Banks for $3.2 million in loans and leaving Target Corp. on the hook for $7 millions owed to Thor subcontractors who had helped remodel Target stores. Dee Depass, Star Tribune, "Work resumes on stalled apartment project in south Minneapolis," 3 Sep. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of repay

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

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Time Traveler for repay

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for repay

Last Updated

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Repay.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for repay


How to pronounce repay (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of repay

: 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.)


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

Kids Definition of repay

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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