Meaning of PAY in English

I. ˈpā verb

( paid also in sense 8 payed ˈpād ; paid ; paying ; pays )

Etymology: Middle English payen, from Old French paier, from Latin pacare to pacify, from pac-, pax peace — more at peace

transitive verb

1. obsolete : pacify , appease , gratify


a. : to satisfy (someone) for services rendered or property delivered : discharge an obligation to : make due return to

factory hands are paid by the hour

paid all his creditors

b. : to engage for money : hire

you couldn't pay me to do that

have to pay someone to mow the lawn


a. : to give in return for goods or service

pay high wages

paid a stiff price for the house

pay interest on borrowed money

b. : to discharge indebtedness for : settle

pay a bill

pay a tax

pay a debt

pay a bet

pay rent for the house

c. : to assume the charge of

pay expenses

paid his son's tuition

pay the freight

d. : to make any agreed disposal or transfer of (money)

paid a few dollars weekly into his savings account

counting all the contributions actually paid in to date

obliged to pay out his entire wages every Saturday

paid over a large sum to the lawyer

4. : to give or forfeit in expiation or retribution

if he has broken the law he must pay the penalty

permanent injury is a high price to pay for a moment's carelessness


a. : to make compensation for : make up for : recompense

his trouble was well paid in the end

b. : to make retaliation for — usually used with back

paid him back blow for blow

c. : to requite (someone) according to what is deserved : get even with — usually used with back

pay back a social obligation

how can I pay you back for all your kindness

cheated me but I'll find some way to pay him back

d. archaic : thrash , punish

6. : to give, offer, or make freely or as fitting

pay attention to business

paid no heed to repeated warnings

pay a visit to the capital

paying lip service to democratic ideals

has come to pay his respects to you


a. : to return value or profit to

it paid the store to stay open evenings

b. : to bring in as a return

the investment paid five percent

8. : to slacken (as a rope) and allow to run out

wires are paid out and their eyes are slipped over the ship's bitts — N.D.Ford & W.J.Redgrave

payed out the line to lower him to the ledge

intransitive verb

1. : to give a recompense : make payment : discharge a debt or obligation

owing doesn't mean paying, as any butcher or baker or candlestick maker can tell you — Margaret Deland

2. : to make suitable return for expense or trouble : be worth the effort or pains : be profitable

it pays to be careful

his job pays very little

justly emphatic against the delusion that persecution never pays — G.G.Coulton

3. : to be amiss or afoot — used chiefly in what's to pay, something is to pay


compensate , remunerate , satisfy , reimburse , indemnify , recompense , repay : pay is a general term, usually lacking particular connotation but sometimes bluntly stressing the purchase of services

pay a machinist high wages

pay a person to whom one has lost a bet

In situations involving retaliation or retribution it may connote the bitter or dire

didn't want anything except an opportunity to make somebody pay for the injustices, the inhumanities that my father had suffered — Kenneth Roberts

compensate may indicate the giving of some return felt to be roughly equivalent in value to a service or favor; the extending of some balancing or countering consideration

compensate one for his additional trouble

an epoch in which the immense costs of a war could never be compensated by any economic gains that came from it — Max Lerner

the loss will be far more than compensated by the growing tourist business — American Guide Series: Nevada

remunerate , generally more formal than pay , is applicable to rewards generous, not contracted for, or unexpected

the king remunerated his retainers with large grants

satisfy implies payment asked, required, stipulated

the Swedish government bought the shares of the Dutch investors in the New Sweden Company and satisfied all Dutch claims — American Guide Series: Delaware

reimburse applies to the return of an exact equivalent for an expenditure

county charges are admitted, the state reimbursing the county in the amount of 75¢ a day for each person; patients financially able to pay are charged $3 a day — American Guide Series: Michigan

indemnify applies to compensations for loss, damage, or injury

the insurance company indemnified him for his losses

recompense suggests fit return, either in compensation, amends, friendly or loyal repayment, or reward

recompensed for unusual services

from this heritage her writing derives a graciousness and urbanity that recompense one, to a degree, for the essential superficiality of her observation and insight — F.B.Millett

repay always implies the notion of a return, a paying back, answering, countering, or reprisal

every last one of them eager to repay with interest a few of the things that had been done to them — Kenneth Roberts

the doctor is repaid all he wants simply by the interest of your case — Graham Greene

the region would repay investigation — Douglas Carruthers

- pay as you go

- pay for

- pay home

- pay one's way

- pay the piper

- pay the shot

- pay through the nose

II. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English pay, paye, from Middle French paie, from paier to pay

1. obsolete : satisfaction , liking


a. : the act or fact of paying or being paid

no pay , no work

demanded pay for overtime work

long interval between pays … to prevent frequent drunkenness among the men — Times Literary Supplement

b. : the status of being paid by an employer : employ

time when England had not a single battalion in constant pay — T.B.Macaulay

suspected of being in the pay of a foreign power

3. archaic : something given in return by way of reward or retaliation

when her lips were ready for his pay — Shakespeare


a. : wages , salary , remuneration

equal pay for equal work

stayed just long enough to collect his pay

especially : money regularly allotted to a member of the armed forces

b. : money paid in addition to basic wages or salary

travel pay

flying pay

severance pay

5. : a person viewed as to reliability or promptitude in paying debts or bills

business people say the best pay are Japanese, Filipinos, and Chinese — Joseph Driscoll


a. : earth, rock, or sand that yields metal (especially gold) in profitable amounts

b. : a zone or stratum (as of sand) that yields oil

Synonyms: see wage

III. adjective

1. : containing or leading to something precious or valuable (as gold, oil)

pay ore

pay rock

2. : equipped with a coin slot for receiving a fee for use

pay telephone

pay toilet

3. : concerned with or used for payment

pay clerk

pay office

4. : requiring payment

pay hospital

pay TV

IV. transitive verb

( payed also paid ; payed also paid ; paying ; pays )

Etymology: obsolete French peier, from Old French, from Latin picare, from pic-, pix pitch — more at pitch

: to smear or coat (as a spar, caulked seam) with hot tar or pitch or any waterproof composition

V. verb

also pay dues

- pay one's dues

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.