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 wages

Contemporary Examples of wages

Historical Examples of wages

  • Then you could have stayed in the factory, and got your wages regularly every week.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • So I am to report my discharge to you, and ask you for my wages.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Do not show yourselves ungrateful to the Corn by denying her servants their wages.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • The next spring he hired me regular and give me wages every month.

    The Underdog

    F. Hopkinson Smith

  • I now got my wages for the Canton voyage; but they lasted me only a fortnight!

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

British Dictionary definitions for wages



  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 wages



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

Culture definitions for wages


Payment for services to a worker, usually remuneration on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis.

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.