[ em-ploi-ee, em-ploi-ee ]
/ ɛmˈplɔɪ i, ˌɛm plɔɪˈi /
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See synonyms for: employee / employees on Thesaurus.com

a person working for another person or a business firm for pay.
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Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?
Rarely em·ploy·e, em·ploy·é .

Origin of employee

First recorded in 1825–35; from French employé “employed,” past participle of employer to employ; see -ee


pre·em·ploy·ee, nounpro·em·ploy·ee, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does employee mean?

An employee is someone who gets paid to work for a person or company.

Workers don’t need to work full time to be considered employees—they simply need to be paid to work by an employer (the person or business that pays them). The term employee is sometimes used to distinguish contract workers from full employees (who often earn additional benefits), but in this example, both types of workers are considered employees in the general sense.

Example: My company has more than 500 employees.

Where does employee come from?

The English word employee is borrowed from the French employé, meaning “employed.” The first records of the word come from the first half of the 1800s. The suffix -ee is used in employee to indicate a person who is the object or beneficiary of the act specified by the verb—in this case, the person who is the beneficiary of employment.

While employees are often seen as the ones getting this benefit—and the benefits that come with it, such as health insurance—the employee-employer relationship is based on an exchange. The employee exchanges work for money. This exchange is often formalized through some kind of contract or employment agreement, and employee 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 an employee or an official employee if they don’t have a formal, official relationship with the employer. Typically, a person must have an employer to be considered an employee. For example, people who are self-employed may not qualify for certain government programs or benefits reserved for employees.

Employee is often used as an adjective in phrases like employee benefits and employee restrooms.

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What are some other forms of employee?

  • employe (rare alternative spelling)
  • employé (rare alternative spelling)

What are some synonyms for employee?

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

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

How is employee used in real life?

Employee can refer to any worker who gets paid by an employer, but most commonly it refers to a worker who has an official status with an employer.



Try using employee!

Which of the following terms is a synonym for employee?

A. paid staff member
B. student
C. volunteer
D. boss

How to use employee in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for employee


sometimes US employe

/ (ɛmˈplɔɪiː, ˌɛmplɔɪˈiː) /

a person who is hired to work for another or for a business, firm, etc, in return for paymentAlso called (esp formerly): employé
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