Definition of


  1. (noun, possession) something that remunerates
    he wasted his pay on drink
    they saved a quarter of all their earnings
  2. (verb, cognition) dedicate
    give priority to
    pay attention to
  3. (verb, cognition) bear (a cost or penalty), in recompense for some action
    She had to pay the penalty for speaking out rashly
    You'll pay for this opinion later
  4. (verb, communication) convey, as of a compliment, regards, attention, etc.; bestow
    give the orders
    Give him my best regards
    pay attention
  5. (verb, possession) give money, usually in exchange for goods or services
    Pay the waitress, please
  6. (verb, possession) cancel or discharge a debt
  7. (verb, possession) discharge or settle
    pay an obligation
  8. (verb, possession) do or give something to somebody in return
  9. (verb, possession) bring in
    How much does this savings certificate pay annually?
  10. (verb, possession) make a compensation for
  11. (verb, social) render
    pay a call
  12. (verb, stative) be worth it

via WordNet, Princeton University

Origin of the word Pay

  1. c.1200, "to appease, pacify, satisfy," from O.Fr. paiier (12c.), from L. pacare "to please, pacify, satisfy" (especially a creditor), from pax (gen. pacis) "peace." Meaning "to give what is due for goods or services" arose in M.L., was attested in Eng. by early 13c.; sense of "please, pacify" died out in Eng. by 1500. Sense of "suffer, endure" (a pun… more
  2. "money given for labor or services," early 14c., from pay (v.). Payment is first attested late 14c., from O.Fr. paiement, from paiier. more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

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