per diem

[ per dee-uh m, dahy-uh m ]
/ pər ˈdi əm, ˈdaɪ əm /


by the day; for each day.


paid by the day.


a daily allowance, usually for living expenses while traveling in connection with one's work or being employed at a distance from one's home: a per diem for lawmakers while the legislature is in session.

Origin of per diem

Borrowed into English from Latin around 1510–20


per annum per capita per diem Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for per diem

  • He advised the per-diem scheme, and with characteristic good nature we acceded to it.

    The House|Eugene Field
  • This looked reasonable enough, but the result was wholly in favor of the per-diem fellows.

    The House|Eugene Field

British Dictionary definitions for per diem

per diem
/ (ˈpɜː ˈdaɪɛm, ˈdiːɛm) /


every day or by the day


  1. an allowance for daily expenses, usually those incurred while working
  2. (as modifier)a per-diem allowance

Word Origin for per diem

from Latin
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

Culture definitions for per diem

per diem
[ (puhr dee-uhm, deye-uhm) ]

A Latin phrase meaning “by the day.” Traveling sales reps or government workers often are paid a per diem, meaning an allowance out of which to cover daily expenses while traveling.

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.