[ pey-chek ]
/ ˈpeɪˌtʃɛk /
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a bank check given as salary or wages.
salary or wages: One can stretch the paycheck only just so far.
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Origin of paycheck

First recorded in 1900–05; pay1 + check1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does paycheck mean?

A paycheck is the bank check that is given to an employee by their employer to pay them for their work.

Paycheck is also used more generally to refer to the money a person is paid for their work, as in Most of my paycheck goes to paying rent and bills. It can refer to wages (payment based on the time spent working or the number of items worked on) or a salary (a set amount paid over time).

A paycheck can be an actual piece of paper (a check) that a person can take to the bank to deposit to their account or exchange for cash. Alternatively, a paycheck can be money a company electronically deposits directly into the employee’s bank account. This is often referred to as a direct deposit.

Paychecks are often issued to employees every two weeks, but they can also be given weekly, bimonthly, or monthly. Typically, a paycheck also includes information about the  taxes and deductions that have been taken out of an employee’s pay.

Paychecks are the most common method of payment in the U.S. for most part-time and full-time employees. Jobs that involve payments of cash or other compensation are much less common.

Example: I’m thankful that my work allows me to earn a steady paycheck, but I dream of starting my own business.

Where does paycheck come from?

The first records of the term paycheck come from the early 1900s. It combines the words pay, which can mean “the money a worker receives in exchange for work,” and check, a document that directs a bank to give someone the amount of money specified.

Paychecks are a common part of work life. Everyone looks forward to payday when they get their paycheck (or when their pay is deposited into their account). But for some people, their next paycheck is not just welcome but extremely important. The verb phrase live paycheck to paycheck means to only make enough money to cover bills and other expenses after each pay period, with rarely any money left over to save, as in He is living paycheck to paycheck right now and is struggling to pay the rent.

Did you know ... ?

What are some synonyms for paycheck?

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

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

How is paycheck used in real life?

Many people receive paychecks for the work they do. Most of them wish their paycheck included more money. 


Try using paycheck!

True or False?

A paycheck can be in the form of an actual piece of paper or in the form of money deposited directly into a person’s bank account.

How to use paycheck in a sentence