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See more synonyms for payback on Thesaurus.com
  1. the period of time required to recoup a capital investment.
  2. the return on an investment: a payback of 15 percent tax-free.
  3. the act or fact of paying back; repayment.
  4. something done in retaliation: a really vicious payback for years of being snubbed.
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Origin of payback

First recorded in 1955–60; noun use of verb phrase pay back
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Word Origin and History for payback


also pay-back, 1946, "net return on profits from an investment," from pay (v.) + back (adj.). Meaning "revenge" is attested from 1957.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper