pay - definition and synonyms


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present tense
present participlepaying
past tensepaid
past participlepaid
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to give money in order to buy something
    pay for:

    Let me pay for dinner.

    pay someone for something:

    Can I pay you for this?

    pay by:

    Will you be paying by cash, cheque, or credit card?

    pay with:

    I’d like to pay with my card.

    pay in dollars/pounds etc:

    Can I pay in dollars?

    pay (in) cash:

    There’s a reduction if you pay cash.

    pay the bill:

    Can I pay the bill, please?

    1. a.
      [intransitive/transitive] to give money to someone who does a job for you
      pay someone for something:

      We still haven’t paid them for the repairs to the roof.

      pay someone to do something:

      We had to pay them over £100 to sort it out.

      pay to have/get something done:

      Now I’ll have to pay to get the car fixed.

    2. b.
      [intransitive/transitive] to give a company, institution etc money that you owe them

      We’ll probably pay more in tax this year.

      Did you pay the gas bill?

    3. c.
      [transitive] to give someone their salary

      Some of the workers haven’t been paid for weeks.

  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] if a job pays a particular amount of money, you get that amount for doing it

    She was in a job paying over £60,000 a year.

    My new job pays well.

    1. a.
      [intransitive] if a business pays, it earns money

      We have a lot of hard work ahead if we’re going to make the business pay.

  3. 3
    [intransitive/transitive] to have a good result
    it pays to do something:

    It pays to cover the pool to keep out falling leaves.

    it pays someone to do something:

    It would pay you to get it properly checked.

    crime doesn’t pay:

    The message you get from the film is simple: crime doesn’t pay.

  4. 4
    [intransitive] to suffer because of something that you have done

    It was an outrage, and somebody was going to pay.

    pay for:

    They had made him look like a fool and now they were going to pay for it.

    pay dearly for something (=suffer a lot because of something):

    We may pay dearly for our arrogance.

    make someone pay (for something):

    She had ruined his life and now he was going to make her pay.

  5.   From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    you get what you pay for! an exclamation used to express your frustration with some service

    Employees often use the phrase "You get what you pay for" to justify their mistreatment of customers.

    Submitted by Boris Marchenko from Russian Federation on 12/11/2014
  6.   From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    pay it forward a philosophy that the receiver of a gift, feeling grateful for a kindness, at the request of the gifter must not say thank you, instead they are to pay the kindness forward when the opportunity presents itself

    My only request is that you Pay It Forward when the opportunity presents itself.

    Submitted by BMB from United States on 30/11/2016
See also