pay off - definition and synonyms

phrasal verb
present tense
I/you/we/theypay off
he/she/itpays off
present participlepaying off
past tensepaid off
past participlepaid off
  1. 1
    [intransitive] if something that you do pays off, it brings you some benefit

    All those weeks of studying will pay off when you take the exam.

  2. 2
    [transitive] to give someone all the money that you have borrowed from them to buy something

    Only another six months and the house will be paid off.

  3. 3
    [transitive] to stop employing a worker and give them any money that they are owed

    Over 1,000 workers will be paid off if this factory closes.

  4. 4
    [transitive] to give someone money so that they will do something bad or dishonest for you

    There were suspicions that officials had been paid off.

    1. a.
      to give someone money so that they will not do something that will cause you problems, especially by telling people about something bad that you have done

      They threatened to tell reporters about him unless he paid them off.

See also main entry: pay