View synonyms for per diem

per diem

[ per dee-uhm, dahy-uhm ]


  1. by the day; for each day.


  1. paid by the day.


  1. 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.

per diem

/ ˈdiːɛm; ˈpɜː ˈdaɪɛm /


  1. every day or by the day


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

      a per-diem allowance

per diem

  1. 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.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of per diem1

Borrowed into English from Latin around 1510–20
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Word History and Origins

Origin of per diem1

from Latin
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Example Sentences

We do local staffing as well, but most of the time, the local nurses are already working with their local hospitals on a per diem basis or maybe they’re in their float pools.

From Fortune

If Moran really wants to help current and future members of Congress, he'll skip the per diem and give them some advice:  Do more.

Not surprisingly, the per diem proposal has been a flop since Moran floated it a few weeks ago.

Carpe Per Diem Am I supposed to be charging meals While I am away from Juneau?

If a man has hired oxen, a wagon, and its driver, he shall give one hundred and eighty ka of corn per diem.

If a man has hired a wagon by itself, he shall give forty ka of corn per diem.

If a man has hired a fast ship, he shall give two and a half še of silver per diem as her hire.

If a man has hired a ship of sixty gur, he shall give one-sixth of a shekel of silver per diem as her hire.

You are paid fifty pounds per diem to see that there is more brains in my little finger than in all your carcass.


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More About Per Diem

What does per diem mean?

A per diem is a daily allowance of money given to employees to cover expenses, typically while traveling or working away from home. A per diem is intended to cover things like meals and travel expenses.

The phrase per diem comes from Latin, in which it means “by the day.” It can be used in a general way in English to mean exactly that, as in You’ll be paid per diem. It can also be used as an adjective meaning paid per day, as in This is a per diem position. In this way, it’s typically used in the context of workers who work on an “as needed” basis—they get called in to work when they are needed, and they get paid for each day, as opposed to earning a fixed salary.

Example: When sales reps go on their first big trip, they’re often tempted to blow their entire per diem on a fancy dinner.

Where does per diem come from?

The first records of per diem in English come from around 1500. It was borrowed into English directly from Latin. The first records of its use as a noun referring to a daily allowance are from the 1800s.

If you travel for work, you’re typically not expected to cover your own lodging, food, and other necessities. Instead, you’re given a per diem. A per diem can be drawn from a corporate account. More commonly, you pay and then get reimbursed for the money you’ve spent, typically up to a certain limit—so go easy on the steak and champagne dinners. (But not too easy—you’re working hard and you’ve earned it.)

When used as an adjective, per diem means “paid by day.” Some workers, such as contract nurses or substitute teachers, work in a per diem capacity, meaning they are only called in when they are needed—on a day-by-day basis. They are paid per diem (which should not be confused with being paid a per diem, as in the paragraph above).

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to per diem?

  • per diems (plural)

What are some synonyms for per diem?

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


What are some words that often get used in discussing per diem?

What are some words per diem may be commonly confused with?

How is per diem used in real life?

Per diem is most often used as a noun referring to a daily allowance for travel expenses, especially in the fields of transportation, entertainment, and government.




Try using per diem!

Which of the following things does a per diem usually cover?

  1. travel expenses
  2. meals
  3. lodging
  4. all of the above