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Pay appears in the following tongue twister:

  • Bill had a billboard, Bill also had a board bill. The billboard bored Bill so Bill sold the billboard to pay for the board bill. 

Pay appears in the following pangrams (sentences using every letter of the alphabet at least once):

  • Jail zesty vixen who grabbed pay from quack. (36 letters)
  • As quirky joke, chefs won’t pay devil magic zebra tax. (42 letters)
  • The laze judge was very quick to pay tax money for the barn. (47 letters)
View more pangrams!

Pay appears in many palindromes (phrases that read the same backward as forward):

  • So may Apollo pay Amos.
  • To lay a pig, I pay a lot.
  • Goddesses so pay a possessed dog.
View more palindromes!

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.

Video footage: Pay online purchase bill with smartphone device with a single tap.
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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.

Phrases with Pay

Phrases starting with the word Pay:

  1. Pay Tv
  2. pay up
  3. pay-TV
  4. pay cut
  5. Pay Day
  6. pay for
  7. pay off
  8. pay out
  9. Pay-off
  10. pay back
  11. pay cash
  12. pay dirt
  13. pay heed
  14. pay rate
  15. Pay stub

Phrases ending with the word Pay:

  1. For-Pay
  2. Net pay
  3. half-pay
  4. Hand pay
  5. sick pay

View more phrases with the word Pay in thesaurus!

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for Pay

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

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 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 previewImproving Student Learning When Budgets Are Tight (2012)

by Allan R. Odden

Base pay is the monthly check, usually determined by the salary schedule. The schedule also determines how one earns...

Variable pay is a bonus, based on improved student performance. Both are important. But too many proposals for ...

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 previewRewarding Performance (2010)

Guiding Principles; Custom Strategies by Robert J. Greene

MANAGING BASE PAY Base pay is the major component of direct compensation for most employees. Sales personnel...

Google previewUnited Editors Encyclopedia and Dictionary (1907)

A Library of Universal Knowledge and an Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language ...

PAY. n. pd [0F. paier; F. payer; It. pagers, to pay—— from mid. L. prurdré, to satisfy, to pa —from L. pacdré, to appease]: wages given for duty or service performed; salary; allowmice: V. to discharge a debt; to make amends b! sufl't'ring ; ...

Google previewEncyclopedia of Public Administration and Public Policy: A-J (2003)

by Jack Rabin

ALTERNATIVES TO JOB-BASED STRUCTURES While job-based structures are still the major approach to pay in public organizations, they have come under increasing criticism in recent years. Rather than build participation and contribution ...

Google previewInternational Dictionary of Public Management and Governance (2006)

by Gambhir Bhatta

Pay criteria Employees that are at the job with the greater value may feel that pay compression is not treating them fairly. See, e.g., S. Barr, "Davis Outlines Plans for Revamping Pay System, Structure of Government," The Washington Post, ...

Google previewEncyclopedia of Gender and Information Technology (2006)

by Trauth, Eileen M.

Pay. in. the. UK. ICT. Labour. , Table 1. Gender pay gap data from the Office. 200...

The ESF-funded DEPICT project seeks to identify pay discrimination experienced by women in ICT at a national level throughout England.

Google previewNolo's Encyclopedia of Everyday Law (2013)

Answers to Your Most Frequently Asked Legal Questions by Shae Irving, Editors of Nolo

A common control, for example, is that employees must voluntarily request, in writing and before the extra hours are worked, that comp time be given instead of overtime pay. Check with your state's labor department for special laws on comp ...

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, Pay First, and Pay Attention.

If you need related images for an article or a report, you can download stock photos:
Small photo of "Gender Pay gap..."Small photo of SHANGHAI, CHINA - MAY 04, 2016: Apple pay logo on small shop in ShanghaiSmall photo of Man using NFC technology on smart phone to pay billSmall photo of Business Team Concept: PAY PER CLICKSmall photo of technology and business concept: man using a laptop with pay per click software on the screen. All screen graphics are made up.Small photo of Gender Pay GapSmall photo of Worried african american wife sitting at kitchen table, reading notification from bank, trying to pay gas and electricity bills online, while her husband standing with smartphone on background 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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