- To pay is defined as to give someone what is due, usually money, for goods or services.
An example of to pay is giving money to a server at a restaurant for a meal.
A woman pays for her lunch at a restaurant.Licensed from iStockPhoto
- to give to (a person) what is due, as for goods received, services rendered, etc.; remunerate; recompense
- to give (what is due or owed) in return, as for goods or services
- to make a deposit or transfer of (money): paid $50 into the credit union
- to discharge or settle (a debt, obligation, expenses, etc.) by giving something in return
- to give or offer (a compliment, respects, attention, etc.)
- to make (a visit, call, etc.)
- to yield as a recompense or return: a job that pays $90
- to be worthwhile or profitable to: it will pay him to listen
Origin: Middle English paien, to pay, satisfy from Old French paier from Classical Latin pacare, to pacify from pax, peace
- to give due compensation; make payment
- to be profitable or worthwhile
- to yield return or compensation as specified: a stock that pays poorly
- a paying or being paid; payment
- money paid, esp. for work or services; wages or salary
- anything, good or bad, given or done in return
- Now Rare a person regarded as a credit risk
- rich enough in minerals, ore, etc. to make mining profitable: pay gravel
- operated or made available by depositing coins, submitting credit cards, etc.: a pay telephone, pay toilet
- designating a service, facility, etc. paid for by subscription, fees, etc.: pay TV
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
verb paid paid , pay·ing, pays verb, transitive
- To give money to in return for goods or services rendered: pay the cashier.
- To give (money) in exchange for goods or services: paid four dollars for a hamburger; paid an hourly wage.
- To discharge or settle (a debt or obligation): paying taxes; paid the bill.
- a. To give recompense for; requite: a kindness that cannot be paid back.b. To give recompense to; reward or punish: I'll pay him back for his insults.
- To bear (a cost or penalty, for example) in recompense: She paid the price for her unpopular opinions.
- To yield as a return: a savings plan that paid six percent interest.
- To afford an advantage to; profit: It paid us to be generous.
- To give or bestow: paying compliments; paying attention.
- To make (a visit or call).
- Past tense and past participle paid paid or payed To let out (a line or cable) by slackening.
- To give money in exchange for goods or services.
- To discharge a debt or obligation.
- To bear a cost or penalty in recompense: You'll pay for this mischief!
- To be profitable or worthwhile: It doesn't pay to get angry.
- Of, relating to, giving, or receiving payments.
- Requiring payment to use or operate: a pay toilet.
- Yielding valuable metal in mining: a pay streak.
- The act of paying or state of being paid.
- Money given in return for work done; salary; wages.
- a. Recompense or reward: Your thanks are pay enough.b. Retribution or punishment.
- Paid employment: the workers in our pay.
- A person considered with regard to his or her credit or reliability in discharging debts.
Origin: Middle English paien, from Old French paiier, from Late Latin pācāre, to appease, from Latin, to pacify, subdue, from pāx, pāc-, peace; see pag- in Indo-European roots.Word History: Given the unpeaceful feelings one often has in paying bills or income taxes, it is difficult to believe that the word pay ultimately derives from the Latin word pāx, “peace.” However, it is not the peace of the one who pays that is involved in this development of meaning. From pāx, meaning “peace” and also “a settlement of hostilities,” was derived the word pācāre, “to impose a settlement on peoples or territories.” In Late Latin pācāre was extended in sense to mean “to appease.” The Old French word paiier that developed from Latin pācāre came to have the specific application “to pacify or satisfy a creditor,” a sense that came into Middle English along with the word paien (first recorded around the beginning of the 13th century), the ancestor of our word pay.
transitive verb payed payed or paid , pay·ing, pays
Origin: Obsolete French peier, from Old French, from Latin picāre, from pix, pic-, pitch.
pay - Business Definition
- To compensate someone for goods received or service performed.
- To satisfy part or all of an obligation.
pay - Phrases/Idioms
in the pay of
pay as you goâ
- to repay
- to retaliate upon
- to pay in cash
- to pay (part of the purchase price) at the time of purchase: used in installment buying
- to suffer or undergo punishment because of
- to atone or make amends for
- to pay all that is owed on (a debt, etc.) or to (a person, as in discharging from employment)
- to take revenge on (a wrongdoer) or for (a wrong done)
- to yield full recompense or return, for either good or evil
- Informal to bring about a desired result; succeed
- Naut. to swing or allow to swing away from the wind: said of the bow of a vessel
pay someone's way
- to give out (money, etc.); expend
- to let out (a rope, cable, etc.) gradually
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
pay (one's) dues
pay (one's) way
pay the piper
pay through the nose