verb (used with object), waged, wag·ing.

verb (used without object), waged, wag·ing.

Obsolete. to contend; struggle.

Origin of wage

1275–1325; (noun) Middle English: pledge, security < Anglo-French; Old French guage gage1 < Vulgar Latin *wadium < Germanic (see wed); (v.) Middle English wagen to pledge < Anglo-French wagier; Old French guagier < Vulgar Latin *wadiāre, derivative of *wadium
Related formswage·less, adjectivewage·less·ness, nounun·der·wage, noun
Can be confusedsalary wages

Synonyms for wage

1. earnings, emolument, compensation, remuneration. See pay1. 5. undertake, prosecute.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for wage

Contemporary Examples of wage

Historical Examples of wage

  • To be sure, the wage was infinitesimal, while the toil was body-breaking soul-breaking.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Of course, very few of the other immigrants get such a wage as that.

  • They asked for a wage, a bunk, and grub; nothing else mattered.

    The Night Riders

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • Ey, another fortnight—trusting to get their wage afore that, please God.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • Where is the warrior, stout of heart and strong of will, who can wage war with cold and hunger?



British Dictionary definitions for wage



  1. (often plural)payment in return for work or services, esp that made to workmen on a daily, hourly, weekly, or piece-work basisCompare salary
  2. (as modifier)wage freeze
(plural) economics the portion of the national income accruing to labour as earned income, as contrasted with the unearned income accruing to capital in the form of rent, interest, and dividends
(often plural) recompense, return, or yield
an obsolete word for pledge

verb (tr)

to engage in
obsolete to pledge or wager
archaic another word for hire (def. 1), hire (def. 2)
Derived Formswageless, adjectivewagelessness, noun

Word Origin for wage

C14: from Old Northern French wagier to pledge, from wage, of Germanic origin; compare Old English weddian to pledge, wed
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 wage

c.1300, "a payment for services rendered," also in Middle English "a pledge of security" (mid-14c.), from Old North French wage (Old French guage) "pledge," from Frankish *wadja- (cf. Old English wedd, Gothic wadi "pledge"); see wed. Modern French cognate gages (plural) means "wages of a domestic," one of a plethora of French words for different classes, e.g. traitement (university professor), paye, salaire (workman), solde (soldier), récompense, prix. The Old English word was lean, related to loan and representing the usual Germanic form (cf. Gothic laun, Dutch loon, German lohn).


early 14c., "to pledge, deposit as a pledge," from Old North French wagier (Old French gagier), from wage (see wage (n.)). Meaning "to carry on" (of war, etc.) is attested from mid-15c., probably from earlier sense of "to offer as a gage of battle" (early 15c.). Related: Waged; waging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper