- 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.
- 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.
- to distribute (money, wages, etc.); disburse.
- to get revenge upon for an injury; punish.
- to let out (a rope) by slackening.
- to pay fully.
- to pay on demand: The gangsters used threats of violence to force the shopkeepers to pay up.
Idioms about pay
- 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.
- to repay or return: to pay back a loan.
- to retaliate against or punish: She paid us back by refusing the invitation.
- to requite.
- 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
synonym study for pay
Words nearby pay
Other definitions for pay (2 of 2)
Origin of pay2
what is a basic definition of pay?
Pay means to give money to someone to settle a debt or obligation. Pay also means to give money in exchange for something. Pay is also a person’s salary or wages. Pay has many other senses as a verb and a noun.
Pay means to settle a bill or a debt, such as paying the check at a restaurant or paying your electric bill. Sometimes you can pay in advance, meaning you pay for the product or service before you receive it. The past tense of the verb pay is paid.
Real-life examples: Homeowners pay their mortgages. Citizens pay taxes to the government. College students often have to pay student loans.
Used in a sentence: I always keep enough money in the bank to pay my rent on time.
Pay also means to give someone money for a product or service.
Real-life examples: A person might pay $20 for some old shirts. A parent may pay a store $50 for a gift for their child. A rich person may pay $5 million for a mansion.
Used in a sentence: She paid the actor $5 for an autographed picture.
Pay is also the money a person earns in exchange for their labor. This sense of pay is a synonym of salary or earnings.
Real-life examples: When you have a job, you earn your pay. A doctor has a much higher pay than a teenager working a part-time job. Workers often go on strike or negotiate with the company to try and get a better pay.
Used in a sentence: He may not like his job that much, but he never complains about the pay.
Where does pay come from?
The first records of pay come from around 1150. It ultimately comes from the Medieval Latin pācāre, meaning “to satisfy” or “to settle (a debt).”
Did you know ... ?
What are some other forms related to pay?
What are some synonyms for pay?
What are some words that share a root or word element with pay?
What are some words that often get used in discussing pay?
How is pay used in real life?
Pay is a very common word that is most often used to mean to give money in return for something.
My favorite childhood memory is not having to work to pay bills.
— Wynter_Nomad (@Wynter_Nomad) November 30, 2020
Debating if I should pay $200 to get my phone fixed or just pay $375 to upgrade early 🤔
— Asia (@ThisIs_Asiaa) December 1, 2020
I would pay off my credit cards and bump my credit so I can get a new car and a down payment for a mortgage.
— Rebecca (@Rebecca66571046) December 23, 2020
Try using pay!
Is pay used correctly in the following sentence?
She is willing to pay a lot of money for the newest model of smartphone.
How to use pay in a sentence
While Perigee is pre-revenue with just one employee, she is looking to add paying customers and begin growing the company as she moves into a wider public beta.Perigee infrastructure security solution from former NSA employee moves into public beta|Ron Miller|September 17, 2020|TechCrunch
The move comes after the company stopped paying penalties required as part of a settlement four years ago to clean up its mines across the Appalachian coalfields.This Billionaire Governor’s Coal Company Might Get a Big Break From His Own Regulators|by Ken Ward Jr.|September 17, 2020|ProPublica
The problem for Google is the businesses who don’t fit into those averages, but also have a right to certain data since they are also paying for the ad program, especially small businesses.
Google itself claims in its third party policy with advertisers, that there is certain data necessary to show to the one actually paying money to Google for Ads Program usage.
Under Germany’s Kurzarbeit, which translates to “short-time work,” financially distressed employers can drastically reduce worker hours, and the government will pay most of their lost wages.Job markets in the US and Europe are surprisingly similar|Dan Kopf|September 16, 2020|Quartz
I was declared innocent, and they said I should pay $104,000.The Story Behind Lee Marvin’s Liberty Valance Smile|Robert Ward|January 3, 2015|DAILY BEAST
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|Aurora Snow|January 3, 2015|DAILY BEAST
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|Danielle Belton|January 2, 2015|DAILY BEAST
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|Kyle Chayka|December 31, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Instead of just cutting out whole food groups, Bacon says people should pay attention to how food makes them feel.
Now, on my first day here, you pay me back for what I did then—as if it needed paying back!Rosemary in Search of a Father|C. N. Williamson
“We shall make Mr. Pickwick pay for peeping,” said Fogg, with considerable native humour, as he unfolded his papers.The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, v. 2(of 2)|Charles Dickens
Condillac after the marquis's death had refused to pay tithes to Mother Church and has flouted and insulted the Bishop.St. Martin's Summer|Rafael Sabatini
Of course, newly acquired Ferns will pay for extra attention in the way of watering until they have secured a proper roothold.How to Know the Ferns|S. Leonard Bastin
In these enlightened days no man is imprisoned for owing money, but only because he does not pay it when told to do so.Showell's Dictionary of Birmingham|Thomas T. Harman and Walter Showell
British Dictionary definitions for pay (1 of 2)
- 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
Word Origin for pay
British Dictionary definitions for pay (2 of 2)
Word Origin for pay
Other 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
- (pay the piper) call the tune
- crime does not pay
- devil to pay
- hell to pay
- lip service, pay
- rob Peter to pay Paul
- you get what you pay for