Synonyms & Antonyms of repay

1 to make a return payment to
  • I repaid my friend the $20 he had lent me

Synonyms for repay

Words Related to repay

Phrases Synonymous with repay

2 to make a return for
  • how can we ever repay your kindness?

Synonyms for repay

Words Related to repay

Near Antonyms for repay

  • owe
See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About repay

How is the word repay distinct from other similar verbs?

Some common synonyms of repay are compensate, indemnify, pay, recompense, reimburse, remunerate, and satisfy. While all these words mean "to give money or its equivalent in return for something," repay stresses paying back an equivalent in kind or amount.

repay a favor with a favor

In what contexts can compensate take the place of repay?

In some situations, the words compensate and repay are roughly equivalent. However, compensate implies a making up for services rendered.

an attorney well compensated for her services

When is indemnify a more appropriate choice than repay?

Although the words indemnify and repay have much in common, indemnify implies making good a loss suffered through accident, disaster, warfare.

indemnified the families of the dead miners

When can pay be used instead of repay?

While in some cases nearly identical to repay, pay implies the discharge of an obligation incurred.

paid their bills

When would recompense be a good substitute for repay?

The synonyms recompense and repay are sometimes interchangeable, but recompense suggests due return in amends, friendly repayment, or reward.

passengers were recompensed for the delay

When is it sensible to use reimburse instead of repay?

The words reimburse and repay are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, reimburse implies a return of money that has been spent for another's benefit.

reimbursed employees for expenses

Where would remunerate be a reasonable alternative to repay?

While the synonyms remunerate and repay are close in meaning, 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

When might satisfy be a better fit than repay?

The meanings of satisfy and repay largely overlap; however, satisfy implies paying a person what is required by law.

all creditors will be satisfied in full

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about repay

Time Traveler for repay

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Cite this Entry

“Repay.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on repay

Dictionary: Definition of repay

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with repay

Spanish Central: Translation of repay

Nglish: Translation of repay for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of repay for Arabic Speakers

Comments on repay

What made you want to look up repay? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!