employ

[ em-ploi ]
/ ɛmˈplɔɪ /

verb (used with object)

to hire or engage the services of (a person or persons); provide employment for; have or keep in one's service: This factory employs thousands of people.
to keep busy or at work; engage the attentions of: He employs himself by reading after work.
to make use of (an instrument, means, etc.); use; apply: to employ a hammer to drive a nail.
to occupy or devote (time, energies, etc.): I employ my spare time in reading. I employ all my energies in writing.

noun

employment; service: to be in someone's employ.

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Origin of employ

1425–75; late Middle English employen<Anglo-French, Middle French emploier ≪ Latin implicāre to enfold (Late Latin: to engage); see implicate

OTHER WORDS FROM employ

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

VOCAB BUILDER

What does employ mean?

To employ someone is to pay them to work. An employer employs employees.

The state of being employed is employment.

A more specific use of employ is as a noun meaning employment or service. This sense of the word is almost always used in phrases like in their employ. 

Employ also means to use, as in This task will require you to employ a different skill set.

Less commonly, employ can mean to keep one busy or occupy one, as in During flights I usually employ myself with some knitting. 

Example: My company employs more than 500 people.

Where does employ come from?

The first records of the word employ come from the 1400s. It ultimately derives from the Latin implicāre, meaning “to entangle” or “to engage” (the word engage is sometimes used to mean “to hire” or “to employ”). The words employer and employee came later. In employee, the suffix -ee indicates a person who is the object or beneficiary of employment.

While employees are often seen as the ones getting this benefit—and the benefits that sometimes come with it, such as health insurance—the employee-employer relationship is based on the exchange of work for money. This exchange is often formalized through some kind of contract or employment agreement, and employ is most often used in the context of official situations like this. Sometimes, a person may get paid by a company or person for work, but they may not consider themselves to be employed by that person or company—that is, they don’t consider themselves an employee. Such a person may be a freelancer, and they may consider themselves self-employed.

When employ is used as a general synonym for use, it’s often employed in situations involving the use of something in a specific way or for a specific purpose, as in He’s employing rhetoric to create division.

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What are some other forms related to employ?

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What are some words that share a root or word element with employ

 

What are some words that often get used in discussing employ?

 

How is employ used in real life?

Employ is commonly used both in reference to paying someone to work and as another word for use.

 

 

Try using employ!

Is employ used correctly in the following sentence?

I was in the employ of the same company for my entire career.

Example sentences from the Web for employ

British Dictionary definitions for employ

employ
/ (ɪmˈplɔɪ) /

verb (tr)

to engage or make use of the services of (a person) in return for money; hire
to provide work or occupation for; keep busy; occupycollecting stamps employs a lot of his time
to use as a meansto employ secret measures to get one's ends

noun

the state of being employed (esp in the phrase in someone's employ)

Derived forms of employ

employable, adjectiveemployability, noun

Word Origin for employ

C15: from Old French emploier, from Latin implicāre to entangle, engage, from plicāre to fold
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012