- to settle (a debt, obligation, etc.), as by transferring money or goods, or by doing something: Please pay your bill.
- to give over (a certain amount of money) in exchange for something: He paid twenty dollars for the shirt.
- to transfer money as compensation or recompense for work done or services rendered; to satisfy the claims of (a person, organization, etc.), as by giving money due: He paid me for my work.
- to defray (cost or expense).
- to give compensation for.
- to yield a recompense or return to; be profitable to: Your training will pay you well in the future.
- to yield as a return: The stock paid six percent last year.
- to requite, as for good, harm, or an offense: How can I pay her for her kindness and generosity?
- to give or render (attention, respects, compliments, etc.), as if due or fitting.
- to make (a call, visit, etc.).
- to suffer in retribution; undergo: You'll pay the penalty for your stubbornness!
- Nautical. to let (a ship) fall off to leeward.
- to transfer money, goods, etc., as in making a purchase or settling a debt.
- to discharge a debt or obligation.
- to yield a return, profit, or advantage; be worthwhile: It pays to be courteous.
- to give compensation, as for damage or loss sustained.
- to suffer or be punished for something: The murderer paid with his life.
- the act of paying or being paid; payment.
- wages, salary, or a stipend.
- a person with reference to solvency or reputation for meeting obligations: The bank regards him as good pay.
- paid employment: in the pay of the enemy.
- reward or punishment; requital.
- a rock stratum from which petroleum is obtained.
- pay down,
- to pay (part of the total price) at the time of purchase, with the promise to pay the balance in installments: On this plan you pay only ten percent down.
- to pay off or back; amortize: The company's debt is being paid down rapidly.
- pay for, to suffer or be punished for: to pay for one's sins.
- pay off,
- to pay (someone) everything that is due that person, especially to do so and discharge from one's employ.
- to pay (a debt) in full.
- Informal.to bribe.
- to retaliate upon or punish.
- Nautical.to fall off to leeward.
- to result in success or failure: The risk paid off handsomely.
- pay out,
- to distribute (money, wages, etc.); disburse.
- to get revenge upon for an injury; punish.
- to let out (a rope) by slackening.
- pay up,
- to pay fully.
- to pay on demand: The gangsters used threats of violence to force the shopkeepers to pay up.
- pay as you go,
- to pay for (goods, services, etc.) at the time of purchase, as opposed to buying on credit.
- to spend no more than income permits; keep out of debt.
- to pay income tax by regular deductions from one's salary or wages.
- pay back,
- to repay or return: to pay back a loan.
- to retaliate against or punish: She paid us back by refusing the invitation.
- to requite.
- pay one's/its way,
- to pay one's portion of shared expenses.
- to yield a return on one's investment sufficient to repay one's expenses: It will take time for the restaurant to begin paying its way.
Origin of pay1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- to coat or cover (seams, a ship's bottom, etc.) with pitch, tar, or the like.
Origin of pay2
Examples from the Web for pay
I was declared innocent, and they said I should pay $104,000.The Story Behind Lee Marvin’s Liberty Valance Smile
January 3, 2015
The escort site Cowboys4Angels peddles chiseled, hot-bodied men and their smoldering model looks to women willing to pay.Career-Minded Women Turn to Male Escorts For No-Strings Fun and (Maybe) Sex
January 3, 2015
One that they cannot cash in at the bank to pay for their flats.One Vogue Cover Doesn’t Solve Fashion’s Big Race Problem
January 2, 2015
That could include private financial or personal information—like the credit-card numbers you used to pay for the corrupted Wi-Fi.How ‘Ethical’ Hotel Chain Marriott Gouges Guests in the Name of Wi-Fi Security
December 31, 2014
Instead of just cutting out whole food groups, Bacon says people should pay attention to how food makes them feel.Why Your New Year’s Diet Will Fail
December 30, 2014
I have met a Mlle. Bines to whom I shall at once pay my addresses.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
Often it happened that certain farmers could not pay their tax.Ancient Man
Hendrik Willem van Loon
If it will make you feel more independent, you may pay for your meals.Grace Harlowe's Return to Overton Campus
Jessie Graham Flower
And to attain it, we must be aware of its full meaning—and ready to pay its full price.
And he's promised to pay for the pinto, so that don't make him a crook.Way of the Lawless
- to discharge (a debt, obligation, etc) by giving or doing somethinghe paid his creditors
- (when intr, often foll by for) to give (money) to (a person) in return for goods or servicesthey pay their workers well; they pay by the hour
- to give or afford (a person) a profit or benefitit pays one to be honest
- (tr) to give or bestow (a compliment, regards, attention, etc)
- (tr) to make (a visit or call)
- (intr often foll by for) to give compensation or make amends
- (tr) to yield a return ofthe shares pay 15 per cent
- to give or do (something equivalent) in return; pay backhe paid for the insult with a blow
- (tr; past tense and past participle paid or payed) nautical to allow (a vessel) to make leeway
- Australian informal to acknowledge or accept (something) as true, just, etc
- pay one's way
- to contribute one's share of expenses
- to remain solvent without outside help
- money given in return for work or services; a salary or wage
- (as modifier)a pay slip; pay claim
- paid employment (esp in the phrase in the pay of)
- (modifier) requiring the insertion of money or discs before or during usea pay phone; a pay toilet
- (modifier) rich enough in minerals to be profitably mined or workedpay gravel
- (tr) nautical to caulk (the seams of a wooden vessel) with pitch or tar
Word Origin and History for pay
c.1200, "to appease, pacify, satisfy," from Old French paier "to pay, pay up" (12c., Modern French payer), from Latin pacare "to please, pacify, satisfy" (in Medieval Latin especially "satisfy a creditor"), literally "make peaceful," from pax (genitive pacis) "peace" (see peace). Meaning "to give what is due for goods or services" arose in Medieval Latin and was attested in English by early 13c.; sense of "please, pacify" died out in English by 1500. Sense of "suffer, endure" (a punishment, etc.) is first recorded late 14c. Related: Paid; paying.
c.1300, "satisfaction, liking, reward," from pay (v.), or else from Old French paie "payment, recompense," from paier. Meaning "money given for labor or services, wages" is from late 14c.
Idioms and Phrases with pay
In addition to the idioms beginning with pay
- pay a call
- pay a compliment
- pay as you go
- pay attention
- pay a visit
- pay back
- pay court to
- pay dirt, hit
- pay for
- pay off
- pay one's dues
- pay one's respects
- pay one's way
- pay out
- pay the piper
- pay through the nose
- pay up
- pay your money and take your choice