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 More than 20% of Black residents in Maryland were unable to repay medical debt, compared with 7% of White residents, according to an October poll by Gonzales Research, a public opinion firm. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "A side effect of the pandemic: Soaring medical debt," 28 Apr. 2021 Ninety percent of net proceeds were used to repay mortgage debt associated with RVI, with the remaining proceeds retained as cash, according to the news release. Ed Wittenberg, cleveland, "Mayor Kraus: Sale of Uptown Solon shopping center is a step forward for city," 26 Apr. 2021 Now the tiny, mountainous country is asking the European Union for help to repay the debt — and the answer, so far, has been no. Washington Post, "Montenegro mortgaged itself to China. Now it wants Europe’s help to cut it free.," 18 Apr. 2021 The one that drew the most ire from critics was Solyndra, a solar company that failed to repay its $528 million debt. Ken Silverstein, Forbes, "Biden’s Clean Energy Loan Program Will Be Devoid Of Political Favoritism," 11 Mar. 2021 View also plans to use the cash influx to repay its debt, which has more than quadrupled since the end of 2018 to $262 million, according to slides presented to investors. Matt Egan, CNN, "This smart window company is on a $1 trillion mission to eliminate blinds and shades," 9 Mar. 2021 The increasing volume of student debt also has been driven in part by more people borrowing and people taking longer to repay their debt, Yannelis says. Michelle Cheng, Quartz, "What will canceling $10,000 in student debt really do?," 2 Mar. 2021 Private companies don’t have the power of the federal government to seize tax refunds, wages, and Social Security benefits to repay defaulted debt. Danielle Douglas-gabriel,, "Student loan companies return to court to collect on private education debt," 21 Jan. 2021 Behind the appearance of triumph, he's scarred from years of humiliation and exploitation trying to repay a 4,500-euro ($5,350) debt to human traffickers. Aritz Parra, Star Tribune, "A migrant's odyssey from boat to COVID nursing job in Spain," 18 Dec. 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 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Repay.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for repay



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?

More from Merriam-Webster on repay

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for repay

Nglish: Translation of repay for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of repay for Arabic Speakers

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