Definition of pay verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    pay

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//peɪ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//peɪ//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they pay
    BrE BrE//peɪ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//peɪ//
     
    he / she / it pays
    BrE BrE//peɪz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//peɪz//
     
    past simple paid
    BrE BrE//peɪd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//peɪd//
     
    past participle paid
    BrE BrE//peɪd//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//peɪd//
     
    -ing form paying
    BrE BrE//ˈpeɪɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈpeɪɪŋ//
     
    Cost and payment
     
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  1. 1  [intransitive, transitive] to give somebody money for work, goods, services, etc. pay (for something) I'll pay for the tickets. Are you paying in cash or by credit card? My company pays well (= pays high salaries). pay for somebody to do something Her parents paid for her to go to Canada. pay something to pay cash pay something for something She pays £200 a week for this apartment. pay somebody (for something) Would you mind paying the taxi driver? pay somebody something He still hasn't paid me the money he owes me. I'm paid $100 a day. pay somebody/something to do something I don't pay you to sit around all day doing nothing! see also low-paid, pre-pay, well paid Wordfinderapply, appoint, contract, dismiss, employ, job, pay, retire, work, workforce See related entries: Cost and payment
  2. 2  [transitive] to give somebody money that you owe them pay something to pay a bill/debt/fine/ransom, etc. pay something to somebody Membership fees should be paid to the secretary. pay somebody something Have you paid him the rent yet?
  3. 3  [intransitive] (of a business, etc.) to produce a profit It's hard to make farming pay.
  4. 4  [intransitive, transitive] to result in some advantage or profit for somebody Crime doesn't pay. it pays to do something It pays to keep up to date with your work. it pays somebody to do something It would probably pay you to hire an accountant.
  5. 5  [intransitive] to suffer or be punished for your beliefs or actions pay (for something) You'll pay for that remark! pay (with something) Many people paid with their lives (= they died).
  6. 6  [transitive] used with some nouns to show that you are giving or doing the thing mentioned pay something I didn't pay attention to what she was saying. The director paid tribute to all she had done for the charity. I'll pay a call on (= visit) my friends. pay somebody something I'll pay you a call when I'm in town. He's always paying me compliments. More Like This Verbs with two objects bet, bring, build, buy, cost, get, give, leave, lend, make, offer, owe, pass, pay, play, post, promise, read, refuse, sell, send, show, sing, take, teach, tell, throw, wish, writeSee worksheet.
  7. Word Origin Middle English (in the sense ‘pacify’): from Old French paie (noun), payer (verb), from Latin pacare ‘appease’, from pax, pac- ‘peace’. The notion of ‘payment’ arose from the sense of ‘pacifying’ a creditor.Extra examples Clients typically pay about $2 400 per month. He was made bankrupt for failing to pay debts of over £2 million. He will pay dearly for what he did. How much did you pay for your new car? I would gladly pay for the benefits such a tax would bring. If Mac had killed Caroline, then he was going to make him pay the price. It is for the courts to decide who is liable to pay damages. Protesters against the tax carried banners reading ‘Can’t pay! Won’t pay!’ She pays her workers very well. She wouldn’t let me pay for my ticket. Taxation should be based on ability to pay. The company was ordered to pay the five workers £5 000 in compensation each. The revenue will be used to help pay for environmental improvements. We pay £200 a week to our landlord. You can expect to pay £200 a night at this hotel. You can expect to pay upwards of £200 a night at this exclusive hotel. help for those genuinely unable to pay help for those who are genuinely not able to pay Are you paying in cash or by credit card? He still hasn’t paid me the money he owes me. I don’t pay you to sit around all day doing nothing! I’ll pay for the tickets. I’m paid $100 a day. My company pays well. There’s a 5% discount if you pay cash.Idioms
    cost/pay an arm and a leg
     
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    (informal) to cost/pay a lot of money
    (informal) a lot of trouble There'll be hell to pay when he finds out.
    give/pay heed (to somebody/something), take heed (of somebody/something)
     
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    (formal) to pay careful attention to somebody/something They gave little heed to the rumours. I paid no heed at the time but later I had cause to remember what he’d said. Small businesses would be wise to take heed of the warnings contained in the Chancellor’s speech. She took little heed of her surroundings. They paid no heed to the advice.
    he who pays the piper calls the tune
     
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    (saying) the person who provides the money for something can also control how it is spent
    (old-fashioned) to treat somebody with great respect in order to gain favour with them to produce great advantages or profits Exercising regularly will pay dividends in the end. (of a new system, something you have bought, etc.) to save as much money as it cost The rail pass will pay for itself after about two trips.
    pay good money for something
     
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    used to emphasize that something cost(s) a lot of money, especially if the money is wasted I paid good money for this jacket, and now look at it—it's ruined!
    pay the penalty (for something/for doing something), pay a/the price (for something/for doing something)
     
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    to suffer because of bad luck, a mistake or something you have done He looked terrible this morning. I think he's paying the penalty for all those late nights. They're now paying the price for past mistakes. She thinks that any inconvenience is a price worth paying for living in such a beautiful place.
    pay your respects (to somebody)
     
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    (formal) to visit somebody or to send a message of good wishes as a sign of respect for them Many came to pay their last respects (= by attending somebody's funeral).
    pay through the nose (for something)
     
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    (informal) to pay too much money for something
    (of a business, etc.) to make enough money to pay what it costs to keep it going The bridge is still not paying its way. to pay for everything yourself without having to rely on anyone else’s money (saying) to borrow money from one person to pay back what you owe to another person; to take money from one thing to use for something else
    you pays your money and you takes your choice
     
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    (informal, especially British English) used for saying that there is very little difference between two or more things that you can choose
    Phrasal Verbspay somebody back (something)pay somebody back (for something)pay somethingdownpay somethinginpay offpay somebodyoffpay somethingoffpay somethingoutpay up
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: pay