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pay - definition and synonyms


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verb pay pronunciation in American English /peɪ/
Word Forms
present tense
present participlepaying
past tensepaid
past participlepaid
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  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, check, or credit card?
    pay with: I’d like to pay with my credit 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/check: Can I pay the bill, please?
    1. a.
      [intransitive/transitive] to give money to someone who does a job for you
      pay someone to do something: We had to pay them over $300 to fix it.
      pay someone for something: We still haven’t paid them for the repairs to the roof.
      pay to have/get something done: Now I’ll have to pay to get the car fixed.
    2. b.
      [transitive] to give someone their salary
      Some of the workers haven’t been paid for weeks.
    3. c.
      [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?
  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
    crime doesn’t pay: The message you get from the movie is simple: crime doesn’t pay.
    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.
  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.


See also


a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

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an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

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