Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

payoff - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun [countable]     payoff pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    a payment that you make to someone as part of an agreement so that they do not cause trouble for you

    His ex-wife pocketed a £20 million payoff after 26 years of marriage.

    1. a.
      a payment that you make to someone so that they will do something bad or dishonest for you
    2. b.
      a payment that you make to someone so that they will not do something that will cause you problems, especially by telling people about something bad that you have done
  2. 2
    a final payment that you make to someone when they stop working for you

    He got a big cash payoff.

  3. 3
    the benefit that you get from doing something

    Until now the payoff of these reforms has not been seen.



a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play