Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “pay”

See all translations

pay

verb  /peɪ/ ( past tense and past participle paid  /peɪd/) us  

pay verb (GIVE MONEY FOR)

[I/T] to give money to someone for goods or services: [T] We paid a lot of money for that table. [I] Would you prefer to pay by credit card? [I] fig. We all eventually pay for our mistakes (= suffer or are punished because of our mistakes). [I/T] To pay is also to give someone or something money for an amount you owe: [T] We’ve got to pay the rent. [T] We have so many bills to pay.

pay verb (GIVE EARNINGS)

[I/T] to give money to someone that the person has earned for work done: [T] We pay our salespeople a salary plus a bonus based on their sales. [I] Construction jobs generally pay well.

pay verb (PROFIT)

[I] to give a profit, advantage, or benefit: [+ to infinitive] It never pays to take risks where human safety is concerned. The moral is, "Crime doesn’t pay."

pay verb (PROVIDE)

[T] to provide or do something: Please pay attention. It’s always nice to be paid a compliment.
pay
noun [U]  /peɪ/ us  
I asked the boss for a raise in pay.
payable
adjective [not gradable]  /ˈpeɪ·ə·bəl/ us  
Please make your check payable to Broadway Antiques.
(Definition of pay from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of pay?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “pay” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

beginner's luck

unexpected success experienced by a person who is just starting a particular activity

Word of the Day

Think long and hard; the language of decisions

by Liz Walter,
January 28, 2015
One of the best ways (perhaps the best way) to improve your English is to learn how words go together in phrases, idioms, or other patterns such as verb/noun or adjective/noun pairs (often called ‘collocations’). This blog looks at some useful phrases and collocations connected with the subject of decisions, something we

Read More 

micro pig noun

January 26, 2015
an extremely small pig, bred to be a pet Micro pigs have become popular pets recently, with famous owners including Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton and Olympic diver, Tom Daley.

Read More