See more synonyms for payroll on
  1. a list of employees to be paid, with the amount due to each.
  2. the sum total of these amounts.
  3. the actual money on hand for distribution: The bandits got away with the payroll.
  4. the total number of people employed by a business firm or organization.
verb (used with object)
  1. to fund or subsidize: to be payrolled by the State Department.

Origin of payroll

First recorded in 1765–75; pay1 + roll Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Contemporary Examples of payroll

Historical Examples of payroll

British Dictionary definitions for payroll


  1. a list of employees, specifying the salary or wage of each
    1. the total of these amounts or the actual money equivalent
    2. (as modifier)a payroll tax
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

Word Origin and History for payroll

1740, from pay (v.) + roll (n.); "total amount paid to employees over a period," hence, via records-keeping, "list of employees receiving pay."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper