pay ( pays 3rd person present) ( paying present participle) ( paid past tense & past participle )
1 verb When you pay an amount of money to someone, you give it to them because you are buying something from them or because you owe it to them. When you pay something such as a bill or a debt, you pay the amount that you owe.
Accommodation is free<endash>all you pay for is breakfast and dinner... V for n
We paid £35 for each ticket... V n for n
The wealthier may have to pay a little more in taxes... V n
He proposes that businesses should pay taxes to the federal government... V n to n
You can pay by credit card. V adv/prep, Also V to-inf, V n to-inf, V
2 verb When you are paid, you get your wages or salary from your employer.
The lawyer was paid a huge salary... be/get V-ed n
I get paid monthly... get/be V-ed adv
They could wander where they wished and take jobs from who paid best. V adv
3 n-uncount Your pay is the money that you get from your employer as wages or salary.
...their complaints about their pay and conditions., ...the workers' demand for a twenty per cent pay rise.
4 verb If you are paidto do something, someone gives you some money so that you will help them or perform some service for them.
Students were paid substantial sums of money to do nothing all day but lie in bed... be V-ed to-inf
If you help me, I'll pay you anything. V n n
5 verb If a government or organization makes someone payfor something, it makes them responsible for providing the money for it, for example by increasing prices or taxes.
...a legally binding international treaty that establishes who must pay for environmental damage... V for n
If you don't subsidize ballet and opera, seat prices will have to go up to pay for it. V for n, Also V
6 verb If a job, deal, or investment pays a particular amount, it brings you that amount of money.
We're stuck in jobs that don't pay very well... V adv
The account does not pay interest on a credit balance. V n
7 verb If a job, deal, or investment pays, it brings you a profit or earns you some money.
They owned land; they made it pay. V
8 verb When you pay money into a bank account, you put the money in the account.
He paid £20 into his savings account... V n into n
There is nothing more annoying than queueing when you only want to pay in a few cheques. V n with adv
9 verb If a course of action pays, it results in some advantage or benefit for you.
It pays to invest in protective clothing... it V to-inf
He talked of defending small nations, of ensuring that aggression does not pay. V
10 verb If you payfor something that you do or have, you suffer as a result of it.
Britain was to pay dearly for its lack of resolve... V for n
Why should I pay the penalty for somebody else's mistake?... V n for n
She feels it's a small price to pay for the pleasure of living in this delightful house. V n for n, Also V
11 verb You use pay with some nouns, for example in the expressions pay a visit and pay attention, to indicate that something is given or done.
Do pay us a visit next time you're in Birmingham... V n n
He felt a heavy bump, but paid no attention to it... V n to n
He had nothing to do with arranging the funeral, but came along to pay his last respects. V n
12 adj Pay television consists of programmes and channels which are not part of a public broadcasting system, and for which people have to pay.
The company has set up joint-venture pay-TV channels in Belgium, Spain, and Germany.
14 If something that you buy or invest in pays for itself after a period of time, the money you gain from it, or save because you have it, is greater than the amount you originally spent or invested.
pay for itself phrase V inflects
...investments in energy efficiency that would pay for themselves within five years.
15 If you pay your way, you have or earn enough money to pay for what you need, without needing other people to give or lend you money.
way phrase V inflects
I went to college anyway, as a part-time student, paying my own way..., The British film industry could not pay its way without a substantial export market.
to pay dividends
to pay through the nose
he who pays the piper calls the tune
piper pay back
1 phrasal verb If you pay back some money that you have borrowed or taken from someone, you give them an equal sum of money at a later time.
He burst into tears, begging her to forgive him and swearing to pay back everything he had stolen... V P n (not pron)
I'll pay you back that two quid tomorrow. V n P n, Also V n P
2 phrasal verb If you pay someone backfor doing something unpleasant to you, you take your revenge on them or make them suffer for what they did.
Some day I'll pay you back for this! V n P for n, Also V n P pay off
1 phrasal verb If you pay off a debt, you give someone all the money that you owe them.
It would take him the rest of his life to pay off that loan. V P n (not pron), Also V n P
2 phrasal verb If you pay off someone, you give them the amount of money that you owe them or that they are asking for, so that they will not take action against you or cause you any trouble.
...his bid to raise funds to pay off his creditors... V P n (not pron), Also V n P
3 phrasal verb If an action pays off, it is successful or profitable after a period of time.
Sandra was determined to become a doctor and her persistence paid off. V P
1 phrasal verb If you pay out money, usually a large amount, you spend it on something.
...football clubs who pay out millions of pounds for players. V P n for/to n, Also V P n
2 phrasal verb When an insurance policy pays out, the person who has the policy receives the money that they are entitled to receive.
Many policies pay out only after a period of weeks or months. V P
payout pay up phrasal verb If you pay up, you give someone the money that you owe them or that they are entitled to, even though you would prefer not to give it. We claimed a refund from the association, but they would not pay up. V P
Back pay is money which an employer owes an employee for work that he or she did in the past. (BUSINESS) n-uncount
He will receive $6,000 in back pay.
pay-as-you-go , pay as you go
Pay-as-you-go is a system in which a person or organization pays for the costs of something when they occur rather than before or afterwards. adj
Pensions are paid by the state on a pay-as-you-go basis.
pay cheque ( pay cheques plural )
in AM, use paycheck Your pay cheque is a piece of paper that your employer gives you as your wages or salary, and which you can then cash at a bank. You can also use pay cheque as a way of referring to your wages or salary. n-count oft poss N
They've worked for about two weeks without a paycheck.
pay day ( pay days plural ) , payday
1 n-uncount Pay day is the day of the week or month on which you receive your wages or salary.
also N in pl
Until next payday, I was literally without any money.
2 n-count If a sports player has a big pay day, he or she earns a lot of money from winning or taking part in a game or contest. (JOURNALISM) oft adj N
pay envelope ( pay envelopes plural ) Your pay envelope is the envelope containing your wages, which your employer gives you at the end of every week.
(AM) n-count oft poss N
in BRIT, use pay packet
pay packet ( pay packets plural )
1 n-count Your pay packet is the envelope containing your wages, which your employer gives you at the end of every week.
(BRIT) oft poss N
in AM, use pay envelope
2 n-count You can refer to someone's wages or salary as their pay packet.
(BRIT) oft poss N
in AM, use paycheck, pay
Pay-per-view is a cable or satellite television system in which you have to pay a fee if you want to watch a particular programme. n-uncount oft N n
The match appeared on pay-per-view television.
Performance-related pay is a rate of pay which is based on how well someone does their job. (BUSINESS) n-uncount
When you are ill and unable to work, sick pay is the money that you get from your employer instead of your normal wages. (BUSINESS) n-uncount
They are not eligible for sick pay.
Your take-home pay is the amount of your wages or salary that is left after income tax and other payments have been subtracted. (BUSINESS) n-uncount
He was earning £215 a week before tax: take-home pay, £170.