1. Often wages. money that is paid or received for work or services, as by the hour, day, or week.Compare living wage, minimum wage.
  2. Usually wages. Economics. the share of the products of industry received by labor for its work (as distinct from the share going to capital).
  3. Usually wages. (used with a singular or plural verb) recompense or return: The wages of sin is death.
  4. Obsolete. a pledge or security.
verb (used with object), waged, wag·ing.
  1. to carry on (a battle, war, conflict, argument, etc.): to wage war against a nation.
  2. Chiefly British Dialect. to hire.
  3. Obsolete.
    1. to stake or wager.
    2. to pledge.
verb (used without object), waged, wag·ing.
  1. 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. 2018

Examples from the Web for wageless

Historical Examples of wageless

  • Months of wageless and thankless service had dimmed the admiral's splendour.

  • And when she returned "home" at night from her wageless day of toil, she slept as she never had slept before.

    West Wind Drift

    George Barr McCutcheon

British Dictionary definitions for wageless


    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
  1. (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
  2. (often plural) recompense, return, or yield
  3. an obsolete word for pledge
verb (tr)
  1. to engage in
  2. obsolete to pledge or wager
  3. 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 wageless



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.



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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper