I. pay pay 1 [peɪ] noun [uncountable]
the money someone receives for the job they do:

• She got the job, but it meant a big pay cut.

• an increase in hourly pay

• All I want is a full day's work for a full day's pay.

• The basic pay (= the usual amount, without any extra ) is so low you end up putting in overtime.

— see also equal pay
money an employer owes to workers, for example because a wage increase was late or because workers have not taken their holiday:

• The system will calculate back pay, including overtime allowances.

• The agency was ordered to restore $60 million in back pay that was saved by the cutbacks in hours worked.

ˈcallback pay also ˈcall-in pay HUMAN RESOURCES
pay for going into work outside your normal working hours
diffeˈrential pay HUMAN RESOURCES
a system of pay that is supposed to show the relative importance of two jobs by paying different amounts for each job
ˌfree ˈpay
TAX the part of someone's income that is not taxed
ˈholiday pay HUMAN RESOURCES
money employers pay to workers who are on holiday
maˈternity pay HUMAN RESOURCES
money employers pay to female workers while they are not working just before and after having a baby:

• Am I entitled to maternity pay?

paˈternity pay HUMAN RESOURCES
money which an employer pays to the father of a new baby during the time when he is not working:

• New fathers receive two weeks' paternity pay.

perˈformance-reˌlated ˌpay also ˈmerit pay HUMAN RESOURCES
pay that increases when your work improves or becomes more productive and goes down if the opposite happens; = PAY FOR PERFORMANCE:

• Performance-related pay and individual performance review has been introduced for general managers.

• For teachers, the Government intends to link merit pay and promotion to an appraisal scheme.

ˈpremium pay HUMAN RESOURCES
additional pay for working outside normal working hours; =OVERTIME PAY:

• The company proposed a reduction in premium pay on weekends.

reˈporting pay HUMAN RESOURCES
another name for callback pay
money employers pay to workers who are not well enough to work:

• the likelihood of some cut in sick pay

ˈstrike pay
money paid by a union to workers who are on strike
ˈtake-home ˌpay TAX
the amount of money workers receive, after taxes, insurance etc have been taken off:

• One policy that nearly all sides favor is an increase in families' take-home pay.

vaˈcation pay HUMAN RESOURCES
pay given to workers while they are on holiday:

• Workers get 30% of their compensation in vacation pay and bonuses.

  [m0] II. pay pay 2 verb paid PTandPP
1. [intransitive, transitive] to give a person or company money for a product or service they have supplied:

• How much can you afford to pay?

• GM won't pay a Christmas bonus to salaried employees next year.

pay for

• Farmers desperately need hard credit to pay for seed and fertilizer.

• The proportion of shoppers willing to pay more for special brands has fallen sharply.

pay somebody for something

• United has agreed to pay Pan Am $290 million for its London routes.

2. pay for itself if something you buy pays for itself, the money it saves over a period of time is as much as it cost:

• Investment in energy efficiency will pay for itself in two years due to the amount of fuel saved.

3. pay its way COMMERCE if a machine or business activity pays its way, it makes more money than it costs to run:

• The SBS television channel is permitted to run limited advertising to help pay its way.

4. pay through the nose (for something) informal to pay much more for something than it is really worth:

• Finance people have paid through the nose for consultants in recent years.

5. [transitive] FINANCE to give a person or company money you owe them:

• Celutel has been trying to raise cash to pay debt.

• The association has set up the loan fund to help its memberspay fines.

• Shoppers in Newfoundland pay 19% tax on purchases of goods and services.

6. [intransitive, transitive] to give someone money for the job they do:

• Cane cutters here are paid about $1.50 per ton.

• attempts by management not to pay employees overtime

7. [transitive] FINANCE if investments pay a particular amount of money or rate of interest, the investors who own them will receive that amount of profit:

• Our Gold Account is currentlypaying a 5.3% interest rate.

• All the current junk bonds pay cash interest.

• Under the current deal, BBDO stock is paying about 10 times last year's earnings.

8. [intransitive] COMMERCE if a shop or business pays, it makes a profit:

• If the Chinese can ship this equipment 12,000 miles, how is it that British industry cannot make it pay?

pay somebody/​something ↔ back phrasal verb [transitive]
to give someone the money you owe them; = REPAY:

• The salespeople working there made more than $40,000 before paying back over-claimed expenses.

pay somebody/​something ↔ back pay somebody back (something)

• Some investors say that if McCaw falters, it can sell assets to pay them back.

• Orion expects to pay Mr. Kluge back his original investment plus a return of 13% a year.

pay somebody/​something ↔ back pay something back

• guarantees on loans to foreign countries that are paid back in full

pay down something phrasal verb [transitive] FINANCE
to pay a person or company part of the money you owe them, reducing the total owed:

• Americans paid down their installment credit balances last month by $1 billion.

• The money will be used primarily to pay down short-term debt.

pay something in also pay something into something phrasal verb [transitive] BANKING
to put money into your bank account etc:

• Did you remember to pay that cheque in?

• I've paid $250 into my account.

pay off phrasal verb
1. [transitive] pay somebody/​something off ↔ FINANCE to pay all the money you owe a person or company:

• BHC also has paid off all its long-term debt.

• $1.2 billion in funds was originally earmarked to pay off creditors.

• The money left to her by her father made it possible to pay off the loan.

2. [intransitive] if a plan, idea etc pays off, it is successful:

• He predicted the company's modernization program would result in higher sales. So far, it has paid off.

• Investors shouldn't expect NCR's more aggressive strategy to pay off right away.

pay something ↔ out phrasal verb [transitive] FINANCE
to give a person or company money you owe, especially when it is a large amount:

• Mutual funds are required to pay out a quarterly cash dividend.

• The price increase was based on an analysis of the revenue that Chase receives and the fees it pays out.

pay up phrasal verb [intransitive] FINANCE
to pay money that you owe, especially because you do not want to or you are late:

• She refused to pay up.

* * *

pay UK US /peɪ/ verb (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 — Cf. pay for itself
[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 — Cf. pay dividends
pay its way — Cf. pay its way
pay over the odds (for sth) — Cf. pay over the odds for sth
pay the price — Cf. pay the price
pay through the nose (for sth) — Cf. pay through the nose for sth
pay top dollar (for sth) — Cf. pay top dollar for sth
pay your way — Cf. pay your way
pay UK US /peɪ/ noun [U]
the money you receive for doing a job: »

There has been a long-running dispute over pay and working conditions.


Workers threatened to strike over the low pay of the support staff.


They agreed to give six months off work with full pay for staff whose jobs are to be outsourced.


The current starting pay is about $500 a week.

a pay award/deal/settlement »

Councils will have to fund the teachers' pay award from within their own resources.

a pay cut »

Employees have a choice between taking a pay cut or working more.

a pay hike/increase »

Pilots have received annual pay increases of only 1.5% since the ruling.


hourly/monthly/weekly pay


overtime/retirement pay


holiday/vacation pay


redundancy/severance pay


executive pay

See Note BENEFIT(Cf. ↑benefit), INCOME(Cf. ↑income)
be in the pay of sb — Cf. be in the pay of sb
See also AT-RISK(Cf. ↑at-risk), BACK PAY(Cf. ↑back pay), BASE PAY(Cf. ↑base pay), BASIC PAY(Cf. ↑basic pay), CALLBACK PAY(Cf. ↑callback pay), CALL-IN PAY(Cf. ↑call-in pay), DIFFERENTIAL PAY(Cf. ↑differential pay), DOUBLE PAY(Cf. ↑double pay), EQUAL PAY(Cf. ↑equal pay), GUARANTEED PAY(Cf. ↑guaranteed pay), HAZARD PAY(Cf. ↑hazard pay), LOW-PAID(Cf. ↑low-paid), MATERNITY PAY(Cf. ↑maternity pay), PATERNITY PAY(Cf. ↑paternity pay), PERFORMANCE-RELATED(Cf. ↑performance-related), PREMIUM PAY(Cf. ↑premium pay), REPORTING PAY(Cf. ↑reporting pay), SICK PAY(Cf. ↑sick pay), STRIKE PAY(Cf. ↑strike pay), TAKE-HOME PAY(Cf. ↑take-home pay), VARIABLE PAY(Cf. ↑variable pay)

Financial and business terms. 2012.

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