Dictionary » P » Pay



1. To satisfy, or content; specifically, to satisfy (another person) for service rendered, property delivered, etc.; to discharge one's obligation to; to make due return to; to compensate; to remunerate; to recompense; to requite; as, to pay workmen or servants. May no penny ale them pay [i. E, satisfy] (P. Plowman) [She] pays me with disdain. (Dryden)

2. Hence, figuratively: To compensate justly; to requite according to merit; to reward; to punish; to retort or retaliate upon. For which, or pay me quickly, or I'll pay you. (B. Jonson)

3. To discharge, as a debt, demand, or obligation, by giving or doing what is due or required; to deliver the amount or value of to the person to whom it is owing; to discharge a debt by delivering (money owed). Pay me that thou owest. Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. (Matt. Xviii. 26) If they pay this tax, they starve. (Tennyson)

4. To discharge or fulfill, as a duy; to perform or render duty, as that which has been promised. This day have I paid my vows. (Prov. Vii. 14)

5. To give or offer, without an implied obligation; as, to pay attention; to pay a visit. Not paying me a welcome. (Shak) To pay off. To make compensation to and discharge; as, to pay off the crew of a ship. To allow (a thread, cord, etc) to run off; to unwind. To pay one's duty, to render homage, as to a sovereign or other superior. To pay out, to pass out; hence, to slacken; to allow to run out; as, to pay out more cable. See Cable. To pay the piper, to bear the cost, expense, or trouble.

Origin: OE. Paien, F. Payer, fr. L. Pacare to pacify, appease, fr. Pax, pacis, peace. See Peace.

To give a recompense; to make payment, requital, or satisfaction; to discharge a debt. The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again. (Ps. Xxxvii. 21)

2. Hence, to make or secure suitable return for expense or trouble; to be remunerative or profitable; to be worth the effort or pains required; as, it will pay to ride; it will pay to wait; politeness always pays. To pay for. To make amends for; to atone for; as, men often pay for their mistakes with loss of property or reputation, sometimes with life. To give an equivalent for; to bear the expense of; to be mulcted on account of. 'T was I paid for your sleeps; I watched your wakings. (Beau. & Fl) To pay off. [Etymol. Uncertain.

To turn the ship's head.

1. Satisfaction; content.

2. An equivalent or return for money due, goods purchased, or services performed; salary or wages for work or service; compensation; recompense; payment; hire; as, the pay of a clerk; the pay of a soldier. Where only merit constant pay receives. (pope) There is neither pay nor plunder to be got. (L'Estrange) full pay, the whole amount of wages or salary; maximum pay; especially, the highest pay or allowance to civil or military officers of a certain rank, without deductions. Half pay. See Half. Pay day, the day of settlement of accounts.

(Science: chemical) Pay dirt, earth which yields a profit to the miner. Pay office, a place where payment is made. Pay roll, a roll or list of persons entitled to payment, with the amounts due.

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