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Usage statistics for the verb pay:

spoken English62.06%written English37.94%
View more statistics!

Pay is sometimes a misspelling of play.

The word pay is considered to be an easy one, according to the Dale-Chall word list, which includes 3000 words that all fourth-grade American students should know and understand.

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Definition of the noun pay

What does pay mean as a name of something?

noun - plural: pays

  1. something that remunerates
    • example: he wasted his pay on drink
    • lexical domain: Possessions - nouns denoting possession and transfer of possession
    • synonyms of pay: earnings / remuneration / salary / wage
    • more generic term: regular payment = a payment made at regular times
    • more specific terms:
      • combat pay = extra pay for soldiers engaged in active combat
      • double time = a doubled wage
      • found = food and lodging provided in addition to money
      • half-pay = reduced wage paid to someone who is not working full time
      • living wage = a wage sufficient for a worker and family to subsist comfortably
      • merit pay = extra pay awarded to an employee on the basis of merit
      • minimum wage = the lowest wage that an employer is allowed to pay
      • pay envelope / pay packet = wages enclosed in an envelope for distribution to the wage earner
      • sick pay = wages paid to an employee who is on sick leave
      • strike pay = money paid to strikers from union funds
      • take-home pay = what is left of your pay after deductions for taxes and dues and insurance etc
    • part of: payroll / paysheet = a list of employees and their salaries

Alternative definition of the noun pay


  1. Money given in return for work; salary or wages.

Definition of the verb pay

What does pay mean as a doing word?

Pay is one of the top 50 most common verbs in the English language.View more statistics!

verb - inflections:

simple pastpast participlepresent participlethird-person singular

  1. give money, usually in exchange for goods or services
  2. convey, as of a compliment, regards, attention, etc.; bestow
    • examples: Don't pay him any mind | pay attention
    • lexical domain: Communication - verbs of telling, asking, ordering, singing
    • synonym of pay: give
    • more generic words: communicate / intercommunicate = transmit thoughts or feelings
    • more specific words: extend / offer = offer verbally
  3. cancel or discharge a debt
    • examples: pay up, please! | They pay
    • syntax: the same syntax as for the sense 1
    • lexical domain: Possession - verbs of buying, selling, owning
    • synonyms of pay: ante up / pay up
    • more specific terms: liquidate / pay off = eliminate by paying off
  4. bring in
  5. do or give something to somebody in return
    • examples: Does she pay you for the work you are doing? | They pay to move
    • lexical domain: Possession - verbs of buying, selling, owning
    • synonyms of pay: compensate / make up / pay off
    • more generic word: settle = dispose of
  6. dedicate
    • example: pay attention to
    • lexical domain: Cognition - verbs of thinking, judging, analyzing, doubting
    • synonyms of pay: devote / give
    • more generic words: cerebrate / cogitate / think = use or exercise the mind or one's power of reason in order to make inferences, decisions, or arrive at a solution or judgments
  7. be worth it
    • example: It pays to go through the trouble
    • lexical domain: Stative - verbs of being, having, spatial relations
    • more generic word: be = have the quality of being
  8. render
    • examples: pay a visit | pay a call | They pay the money
    • lexical domain: Activities - verbs of political and social activities and events
    • more generic word: make = perform or carry out
  9. bear (a cost or penalty), in recompense for some action
  10. make a compensation for
    • lexical domain: Possession - verbs of buying, selling, owning
    • more generic words: repay / requite = make repayment for or return something
  11. discharge or settle
    • examples: pay a debt | pay an obligation
    • lexical domain: Possession - verbs of buying, selling, owning
    • more generic word: settle = dispose of
    • more specific terms: ante up / pay up = cancel or discharge a debt

Alternative definition of the verb pay


  1. [transitive] To give money in exchange for goods or services.
  2. [intransitive] To be profitable.
  3. [transitive] To be profitable for.
  4. [transitive] To give (something else than money).
  5. [intransitive] To discharge an obligation or debt.
  6. [intransitive] To suffer consequences.


Pay is a musical group.

  • also known as P.A.Y.
  • albums: "Potevate anche ynvitarci", "Federico Tre e il destino infausto", "Post Atomic Youth", "Provate ammore ynutile", "The Very Best of the Rarities of the Origins of the Band", "PAY / Pornoriviste"
  • official website:


Who is Pay?

Pay a.k.a. Parlin Burman is a musical artist.


Pay is a fictional character from the 2007 film Paragraph 78.


  1. Pay a.k.a. Pech Language: Pech or Paya is a Chibchan language spoken in Honduras. According to Ethnologue there were only 990 speakers in 1993. It is also known as Seco or Bayano. Specifically, it is spoken near the north central coast of Honduras, in Municipio Dulce Nombre de Culmí, of Olancho Department.
    • also known as Paya, Seco, Paya language
  2. Pay is an expression used in hydrocarbon mining. It denotes a portion of a reservoir that contains economically recoverable hydrocarbons. The term derives from the possibility of "paying" an income surpassing the costs. Equivalent terms are pay sand or pay zone. Overall interval in which pay volumes occur is the gross pay; smaller portions of the reservoir that meet further criteria for pay are net pay.
  3. Pay a.k.a. Mala Language: Mala, or Pay, is a Papuan language of Madang Province, Papua New Guinea.

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for Pay

Click on a title to look inside that book (if available):

Google previewThe World of Work (2017)

Industrial Society and Human Relations by Robert Dubin

AUTHORITY PAY Authority pay is the promotion to a position of greater authority. It is the most...

Google previewStrategic Management of Human Capital in Education (2011)

Improving Instructional Practice and Student Learning in Schools by Allan R. Odden

Base pay is the monthly check.

Google previewIntroduction to Human Resource Management (2012)

by Paul Banfield, Rebecca Kay

The dilemma they face is that, while employees value rewards and generally would like more of them, rewards can be very costly for the organization and if pay is the predominant form of reward, overpaying employees can be an expensive ...

Google previewSchool Finance (2012)

by William E. Thro

Certainly, merit pay is a short-term strategy. Government has never been...

Google previewReforming Severance Pay (2011)

An International Perspective by Robert Holzmann, Milan Vodopivec

But while mandated severance pay is the most prevalent income support system in developing (but not developed) countries (Vodopivec 2004, 2009), these programs are often considered to be one of the least appropriate options for income ...

Google previewNew Zealand Master Tax Guide (2013 edition) (2013)

by CCH New Zealand Ltd

cash pay is the cash paid to, credited to or applied on account of the employee by the employer or a related employer,

Google previewRealities Of Human Resource Management (2000)

Managing the Employment Relationship by Sisson , Keith, Storey, John

For employers, pay is the price of labour and the arrangement of working time patterns helps to determine the way in which goods and services can be provided. For employees, pay is a measure of self-esteem as well as the means to ...

Google previewJustice (2013)

Views from the Social Sciences by Ronald L. Cohen

This is a criterion familiar in normative economics, but it has at least two serious limitations: willingness to pay is an imperfect indicator of utility, and it is...

Willingness to pay is a function of both intensity of preference and availability of money.

Google preview3 Steps Forward, 2 Steps Back (2004)

Reforming PPP Policy by Tim Gosling

However, there has not been the same degree of concern about the variations in pay amongst higher-skilled workers such as IT professionals, suggesting that low pay is the real problem. Indeed, during the negotiations on the Best Value code ...

Google previewA Dictionary of Economics (2012)

by John Black, Nigar Hashimzade, Gareth Myles

ability to pay The principle that any *tax should fall ...

Google previewDictionary of Health Economics (1999)

by Alan Earl-Slater

Willingness to pay An amount of money that someone says they would pay ...

Google previewCustoms Valuation Encyclopedia (1980-2003)

June, 2004 COMPUTED VALUE severance pay A factory located in Germany is the parent company to the importer and designer, both located in the United States. The factory intends to contract with the designer to design and engineer items ...

Google previewPersonal Finance: An Encyclopedia of Modern Money Management (2015)

An Encyclopedia of Modern Money Management by Barbara Friedberg

This massive responsibility includes maintaining accurate work records and calculating gross and net pay. As a quick explanation, gross pay is the total amount earned before any deductions such as taxes, Medicare, or Social Security ...

Google previewA new law dictionary ... (1792)

by Richard Burn, John Burn

and an action on the case may be brought accords ingly, is the vendee resuses to pay that value. So Q.U A qjj a: ...

Google previewGovernment and the Economy: An Encyclopedia (2014)

An Encyclopedia by David A. Dieterle Ph.D., Kathleen M. Simmons

In addition, it is safe to infer that without health insurance (the financial means to pay for products and services in the health care market) many Americans will experience economic hardship during this exchange. Some will not be able to pay ...

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Pay

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Usage statistics about pay

The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English from the later part of the 20th century, both spoken and written.

Usage statistics for the verb pay:

spoken English62.06%written English37.94% conversational speech56.84%task-oriented speech43.16% imaginative writing37.66%informational writing62.34%

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the noun pay:


Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the verb pay:


Photos about Pay

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View more pictures about Pay Day.

If you need related images for an article or a report, you can download stock photos:
Small photo of Gender pay equality concept. man and woman on a stack of coins.Small photo of "Gender Pay gap..."Small photo of Gender pay gap depiction with larger coins for blue (male), smaller coins for red (female)Small photo of closeup of a young caucasian woman outdoors showing a notepad with the text pay equal written in itSmall photo of Illustration of gender pay gap using blue and pink bulldog clips with pound coins, blue clip on stack of four pound coins, pink clip on stack of two pound coinsSmall photo of Euro Pay slip and calculator, close up for payroll or salary background, french mention Net to paySmall photo of SHANGHAI, CHINA - MAY 04, 2016: Apple pay logo on small shop in Shanghai More...

Video language resources about Pay

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View more videos about Pay Day, pay for, Pay Off, Hand pay, Pay Back, Pay stub, Gross Pay, Pay grade, Danger Pay, Hell To Pay, Pay Attention, Severance Pay, Take-Home Pay, Pay It Forward, Pay the Freight, and Pay Through the Nose.

See also the pronunciation examples of Pay!

Sign language

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Quotes about Pay

It's funny about men and women. Men pay in cash to get them and pay in cash to get rid of them. Women pay emotionally coming and going. Neither has it easy. (Hedy Lamarr)
more quotes about pay...

Scrabble value of P3A1Y4

The value of this 3-letter word is 8 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

Anagrams of PAY

What do you get if you rearrange the letters?


What do you get if you reverse the order of the letters?

See also the index of semordnilaps!

Other anagrams

What do you get if you rearrange the letters in other ways?

See also the blanagrams of Pay!

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