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English definition of “pay”

pay

verb
 
 
/peɪ/ (paid, paid)
[I or T] to give money to someone for a product or service: pay for sth Who paid for the meal?pay sb to do sth We'll need to pay a builder to take this wall down.pay sb for sth How much did they pay you for the computer?pay sb for doing sth Did the company pay you for doing the quote?pay in/with sth They paid for the car in cash.pay to do sth I paid a lot of money to get the washing machine fixed and it still doesn't work!pay a deposit You will need to pay a small deposit if you want us to keep the radio for you. pay by cash/cheque/credit card
pay for itself if something pays for itself, it works so well that it saves the same amount of money that it cost: The renewable energy system will have paid for itself within ten years.
[I or T] to give money to someone for work that they have done: He hates his job, but at least it pays well. Most of these women are very poorly paid and work in terrible conditions.pay $20/€50/£5, etc. for sth They pay $30 an hour for editing work. I don't get paid until the end of the month.
[T] to give someone money that you owe them: pay bills/rent I haven't got enough money to pay the rent this month.pay a debt/fine He was ordered by the court to pay a $100,000 fine. Will I have to pay income tax on any monies I receive?pay sb sth We haven't yet paid the contractor what we owe him for the work.
[I] COMMERCE if a business pays, it produces a profit: make sth pay The cinema will be closed down at the end of October, as it has failed to attract enough patrons to make it pay.
[I] to give an advantage to someone or something: pay to do sth When it comes to your retirement, it doesn't pay to take too many risks.
[T] FINANCE if a bank account or an investment pays a particular amount of money or interest, the person who owns it will receive that amount of money or interest: The account will pay 4% gross on credit balances.pay interest/a return The bank will pay interest if your account is in credit.
pay dividends if something you do pays dividends, it has good results at a time in the future: The company found that the extra training really did pay dividends.
pay its way if a business pays its way, it makes at least the same amount of money as it costs to operate: When Swan Lake reached the West End, there had to be eight performances a week for the production to pay its way.
pay over the odds (for sth) UK informal to pay more for something than it is really worth: Small businesses have always paid over the odds for office supplies.
pay the price to experience the bad result of something you have done or that someone else has done: It is inexcusable for students to be paying the price for backroom deals in the student loan industry.
pay through the nose (for sth) informal to pay too much money for something: There's no point in getting a bargain flight only to pay through the nose for car hire.
pay top dollar (for sth) US to pay a lot of money for something: Many wealthy businessmen are prepared to pay top dollar for an exclusive property in this area.
pay your way to pay for yourself rather than allowing someone else to pay: I got a part-time job to help pay my way through university.
(Definition of pay verb from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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