[ pen-shuhn; French pahn-syawn for 3 ]
See synonyms for: pensionpensionedpensioning on

noun,plural pen·sions [pen-shuhnz; French pahn-syawn for 3 ]. /ˈpɛn ʃənz; French pɑ̃ˈsyɔ̃ for 3 /.
  1. a fixed amount, other than wages, paid at regular intervals to a person or to the person's surviving dependents in consideration of past services, age, merit, poverty, injury or loss sustained, etc.: a retirement pension.

  2. an allowance, annuity, or subsidy.

  1. (in France and elsewhere in continental Europe)

    • a boardinghouse or small hotel.

    • room and board.

verb (used with object)
  1. to grant or pay a pension to.

  2. to cause to retire on a pension (usually followed by off).

Origin of pension

First recorded in 1325–75; Middle English, from Old French pensïon, from Latin pēnsiōn-, stem of pēnsiō “measured weight,” hence, “payment, rent,” from pēns(us) “weighed” (past participle of pendere “to hang, weigh out, pay by weight”) + -iō -ion

Other words from pension

  • pen·sion·a·ble, adjective
  • pen·sion·a·bly, adverb
  • pen·sion·less, adjective
  • non·pen·sion·a·ble, adjective
  • un·pen·sion·a·ble, adjective
  • un·pen·sioned, adjective
  • un·pen·sion·ing, adjective
  • well-pensioned, adjective

Words Nearby pension Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use pension in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for pension (1 of 2)


/ (ˈpɛnʃən) /

  1. a regular payment made by the state to people over a certain age to enable them to subsist without having to work

  2. a regular payment made by an employer to former employees after they retire

  1. a regular payment made to a retired person as the result of his or her contributions to a personal pension scheme

  2. any regular payment made on charitable grounds, by way of patronage, or in recognition of merit, service, etc: a pension paid to a disabled soldier

  1. (tr) to grant a pension to

Origin of pension

C14: via Old French from Latin pēnsiō a payment, from pendere to pay

Derived forms of pension

  • pensionable, adjective
  • pensionless, adjective

British Dictionary definitions for pension (2 of 2)


/ French (pɑ̃sjɔ̃) /

noun(in France and some other countries)
  1. a relatively cheap boarding house

  2. another name for full board

Origin of pension

C17: French; extended meaning of pension grant; see pension 1

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

Cultural definitions for pension


Payments made to a retired person either by the government or by a former employer.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.