- 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
- (tr, adverb) to pay all that is due in wages, etc, and discharge from employment
- (tr, adverb) to pay the complete amount of (a debt, bill, etc)
- (intr, adverb) to turn out to be profitable, effective, etcthe gamble paid off
- (tr, adverb or intr, preposition) to take revenge on (a person) or for (a wrong done)to pay someone off for an insult
- (tr, adverb) informal to give a bribe to
- (intr, adverb) nautical (of a vessel) to make leeway
- the final settlement, esp in retributionthe payoff came when the gang besieged the squealer's house
- informal the climax, consequence, or outcome of events, a story, etc, esp when unexpected or improbable
- the final payment of a debt, salary, etc
- the time of such a payment
- informal a bribe
- 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 off
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 off
Pay the full amount on a debt or on wages, as in The car's finally paid off, or Les pays off the workers every Friday evening. [Early 1700s]
Produce a profit, as in That gamble did not pay off. [Mid-1900s]
Also, pay off an old score. Get revenge on someone for some grievance, require, as in Jerry was satisfied; he'd paid off his ex-partner when he bought him out at half-price, or Amy went out with her roommate's boyfriend, but she was paying off and old score.
Bribe, as in The owner of the bar paid off the local police so he wouldn't get in trouble for serving liquor to minors. [Colloquial; c. 1900]
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