1 /peI/ verb past tense and past participle paid /peId/
1 GIVE MONEY (I, T) to give someone money for something you have bought, or for something they have done for you: They ran off without paying. | Didn't pay 'em a penny, just asked 'em to do it.
(+ for): Mum and Dad paid for my driving lessons. | pay sb for sth: When can you pay me for the work? | pay sb sth: I paid her $200 for this painting. | pay sb to do sth: Ray paid some kids to wash the car. | pay (in) cash: You'd get a discount for paying cash. | pay by cheque/credit card: May I pay by credit card?
2 DEBT/BILL/TAX (T) to pay money that you owe to a person, company etc: I forgot to pay the gas bill! | How much tax did you pay last year?
3 WAGE/SALARY (I, T) to give someone money for the job they do: How much do they pay you? | Home workers are very poorly paid. | pay sb $100 a day/-200 a week etc: Programmers are paid about -200 a day.
4 pay attention (to) to give your attention to something: I'm sorry, I wasn't paying attention to what you were saying.
5 pay a call/visit on sb or pay sb a call/visit to visit someone
6 pay the penalty/price to experience something unpleasant because you have done something wrong, made a mistake etc: pay the price for (doing) sth: You'll pay the price for drinking so much tomorrow.
7 GOOD RESULT (I) if a particular action pays, it brings a good result or advantage for you: Crime doesn't pay. | it pays to do sth: It usually pays to tell the truth. | it would/it might pay (you) to do sth: It would pay you to ask if there are any jobs going at the London office. | pay dividends: Getting some qualifications now will pay dividends in the long term.
8 PROFIT (I) if a shop or business pays, it makes a profit: If the pub doesn't start to pay, we'll have to sell it.
9 pay sb a compliment to say nice things about someone's appearance, behaviour etc: pay sb the compliment of doing sth: Gretta paid me the compliment of saying I was a good judge of character.
10 pay your respects (to sb) formal to send polite greetings to someone or to visit them: pay your last respects (=go to someone's funeral)
11 pay for itself if something you buy pays for itself, it makes you save as much money as you bought it for: A new boiler would pay for itself within two years.
12 pay your way to pay for everything that you want without having to depend on anyone else for money
13 pay through the nose (for sth) spoken to pay far too much for something: I had to pay through the nose for these tickets.
14 pay tribute to to say how much you admire or respect someone or something: Doctors paid tribute to her courage at the end.
15 pay court to sb old-fashioned to treat someone, especially a woman, with great respect and admiration
—see also: pay lip service to lip service, pay your dues due 2 (2) pay sb/sth back phrasal verb (T)
1 to give someone the money that you owe them; repay: pay sb back: Can you lend me -10 and I'll pay you back on Friday? | pay sth back: We're paying back the loan over 15 years. | pay sb back sth: Did I pay you back that -5?
2 to make someone suffer for doing something wrong or unpleasant: pay sb back for sth: I'll pay Jenny back for what she did to me!
pay for sth phrasal verb (T) to suffer or be punished for something you have done: These people should pay for their crimes. | You'll pay for that! | pay for doing sth: I'll make her pay for ruining my chances. | pay dearly: Nick's paid dearly for his unfaithfulness to his wife. pay sth in/into phrasal verb (T) to put money in your bank account etc: Did you remember to pay that cheque in? | pay sth into sth: I've paid $250 into my account. pay off phrasal verb
1 (transitive pay something off) to give someone all the money you owe them: I've paid off the balance on the dishwasher.
2 (transitive pay someone off) to pay someone their wages and dismiss them from their job: Two hundred workers have been paid off.
3 (transitive pay someone off) to pay someone to keep quiet about something illegal or dishonest
4 (I) if a plan or something that you try to do pays off, it is successful: They took a hell of a risk but it paid off.
—see also: payoff pay out phrasal verb
1 (intransitive, transitive pay something out) to pay a lot of money for something: Why is it always me who has to pay out? | pay out sth for sth: I paid out a lot of money for that car.
2 (transitive pay something out) to let a piece of rope be unwound
—see also: payout pay sth over phrasal verb to make an official payment of money: pay sth over to: The solicitor arranged for Clancy's share of the inheritance to be paid over to him. pay up phrasal verb (I) to pay money that you owe, especially when you do not want to or you are late —see also: paid­up USAGE NOTE: PAY GRAMMAR You pay the cost of something: pay $100/the bill/postage/the cost of removal | Will they pay my traveling expenses/accommodation costs? You pay for something you buy: I'll pay for the tickets. | You'll have to pay for any stationery you use. You also say pay for when both the cost and what is bought are mentioned: She paid $200 for the use of the room. You pay a person etc: Could you pay the taxi driver? You also pay someone something, or pay something to someone: He paid the assistant -30. | He has to pay half his salary to his ex-wife every month. You pay by cheque/credit card etc: Can I pay by Visa? SPELLING The past tense of pay is paid (NOT payed). 2 noun (U)
1 money that you are given for doing your job; salary: Wayne gets his pay every Friday. | I like the work but the pay's terrible. | holiday/sick pay (=money your employer gives you when you are on holiday or are ill) | a pay rise/increase: I've been promised a pay rise in January.
2 in the pay of someone who is in someone else's pay is working for them, often secretly: an informer in the pay of the police
USAGE NOTE: PAY WORD CHOICE: pay, salary, wages, fee, income Money given to someone in return for work is called pay: Truck drivers are demanding higher pay. | a campaign against low pay A salary is paid to someone once a month, especially to professional people, managers etc and usually goes directly into their bank account: a salary of $100,000 a year Wages are paid weekly, usually in the form of coins and notes, especially to people whose job is not professional, in management etc: Wages at the cannery are very low. A fee is money that some professions charge for a particular service they have done: doctor's/lawyer's fees Income means any money you receive regularly, from work or anywhere else: Unearned income (= money you get but not from work) is taxed at a higher rate.

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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