pay#

pay vb Pay, compensate, remunerate, satisfy, reimburse, indemnify, repay, recompense are comparable when they mean to give money or an equivalent in return for something.
Pay is the ordinary term when the giving or furnishing of money to discharge an obligation (as for services rendered or goods delivered) is implied
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pays good wages to his gardener

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pay ten dollars for a hat

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taxes are what we pay for civilized society— Justice Holmes

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could once more meet his running expenses, and with pinching and scrimping, even pay off some outstanding bills— Malamud

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When, in extended use, pay does not imply the actual giving of money, the term is often employed purely as a figure of speech
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nothing can pay him for his pains

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the hard knowledge of the hipster that you pay for what you get is usually too bitter for the beatnik— Mailer

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or it means merely to give as due or deserved
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pay a compliment

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or to give in the hope of a return in kind
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pay attention to a young woman

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Compensate is often preferred to pay when no legal obligation is implied or no payment for services is expected, because the term stresses a return, usually in money, that is,regarded as an equivalent for a service given or for trouble taken or time spent
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compensate a waiter for his cheerful willing service

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compensate a neighbor for taking care of one's pets during the summer

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an epoch in which the immense costs of a war could never be compensated by any economic gains that came from it— Lerner

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In this sense (see also COMPENSATE 1) compensate often does not imply an obligation to another or the passing of money; it often suggests a counterbalancing (as of something unpleasant by something pleasant or of something lost by something gained)
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the beauty of the view compensated for the labor of the climb

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compensate for his feelings of loneliness by assertions of superiority— Auden

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Remunerate, like pay, usually implies the discharge of an obligation in money and, like compensate, usually suggests the giving of an equivalent for services rendered rather than for goods delivered
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goods with which the Cayuâ is remu-nerated for his work for Brazilians— J. B. Watson

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but unlike both of these terms it often carries a suggestion, sometimes a mere hint, sometimes a distinct implication, of a reward
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he promised to remunerate the searchers handsomely

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the king remunerated them both, the former with an addition of honor, the latter with an accession of estate— Fuller d. 1661

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Both compensate and remunerate can replace pay when pay might seem offensive or indelicate
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the party always remunerates its faithful workers

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Satisfy (see also SATISFY 1 & 3) implies the payment of something that is asked, demanded, or required especially by the terms of the law or the decree of a court
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satisfy a claim

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satisfy a judgment

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death duties had been paid and the demands of creditors satisfiedGibbons

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Reimburse implies a return for money that has been expended by oneself in hope of making a profit or by another (as one's agent or attorney) in doing one's business
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the profits of his business did not reimburse him for the money he had invested in it

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reimbursed his lawyer for earlier expenditures

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a promise of reimbursing . . . what the people should give to the king— Bolingbroke

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only Pennsylvania, of all the states, reimbursed loyalists for confiscated property— Smelser & Kirwin

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Indemnify implies promised or actual reimbursement for loss (as by fire), for injury (as by accident), or for damage (as by war or disaster)
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the basic purpose for which insurance exists is to indemnify persons subject to loss when such loss occurs— Hedges

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the governments of Louis XVIII and Louis Philippe so far as practicable indemnified the citizens of foreign states for losses caused by . . . Napoleon— J. B. Moore

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But indemnify may approach compensate and implies less a reimbursing than a counterbalancing
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he flogged them with merciless severity: but he indemnified them by permitting them to sleep on watch, to reel drunk about the streets, to rob, beat, and insult the merchants and the laborers— Macaulay

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Repay and recompense carry a weaker implication of giving or furnishing money than any of the preceding terms and a stronger implication of returning like for like; both therefore stress the demands of justice and usually the compulsion of an obligation.
When the passing of money or of an equivalent is implied, repay may be preferred when there is a suggestion of giving something back that has been paid out to one
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repay a loan

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and recompense when compensation for voluntary services or for losses or injuries sustained is suggested and a due or adequate return is implied
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recompense these people, and especially the priest, for their great kindness— Kipling

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But repay and recompense sometimes imply reciprocation of something given, advanced, or inflicted. Repay usually implies little more than paying back in kind or amount
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repay her scorn for scorn— Keats

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we never can repay your kindness

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Peacock's fidelity as a correspondent . . . was repaid by the magnificent series of letters from Shelley— Garnett

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but it is sometimes used when the return is not what might be expected but is its diametrical opposite
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repay love with hate

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repaying incredulity with faith— Browning

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these Indians enabled the Pilgrims to replenish their dwindling stores, a friendly act that was later repaid with treachery— Amer. Guide Series: Me.

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Recompense often in this extended sense specifically implies a desire to make amends or to atone for a wrong that has been inflicted
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in some part to recompense my rash but more unfortunate misdeed— Milton

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pay n *wage or wages, salary, stipend, fee, hire, emolument
Analogous words: *reparation, restitution, indemnity, redress, amends

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • pay — pay1 [pā] vt. paid or [Obs.] (except in phrase PAY OUT, sense 2)Obs. payed, paying [ME paien, to pay, satisfy < OFr paier < L pacare, to pacify < pax,PEACE] 1. to give to (a person) what is due, as for goods received, services rendered,… …   English World dictionary

  • Pay — Pay, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Paid}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Paying}.] [OE. paien, F. payer, fr. L. pacare to pacify, appease, fr. pax, pacis, peace. See {Peace}.] 1. To satisfy, or content; specifically, to satisfy (another person) for service rendered,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pay — ► VERB (past and past part. paid) 1) give (someone) money due for work, goods, or an outstanding debt. 2) give (a sum of money) thus owed. 3) be profitable or advantageous: crime doesn t pay. 4) suffer a loss or misfortune as a consequence of an… …   English terms dictionary

  • Pay — Pay, n. 1. Satisfaction; content. Chaucer. [1913 Webster] 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… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pay TV — pay television or pay TV noun Satellite or cable television available to subscribers • • • Main Entry: ↑pay * * * pay TV UK US noun [uncountable] a system in which you pay to watch particular television programmes or channels Thesaurus: systems… …   Useful english dictionary

  • pay — [n] earnings from employment allowance, bacon*, bread*, commission, compensation, consideration, defrayment, emoluments, fee, hire*, honorarium, income, indemnity, meed, payment, perquisite, pittance, proceeds, profit, reckoning, recompensation,… …   New thesaurus

  • Pay-TV — (von englisch Pay television), auch Bezahlfernsehen genannt,[1] bezeichnet private Fernsehsender, für deren Empfang mit dem Programmanbieter ein kostenpflichtiger Vertrag abgeschlossen werden muss, unabhängig von den in Deutschland… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Pay — (p[=a]), v. i. To give a recompense; to make payment, requital, or satisfaction; to discharge a debt. [1913 Webster] The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again. Ps. xxxvii. 21. [1913 Webster] 2. Hence, to make or secure suitable return for… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pay TV — ˌpay TˈV noun [uncountable] COMMERCE a system in which customers pay for the length of time they watch a particular television programme or channel: • Pay TV will be delivered on at least four channels. • Time Warner dominates the pay TV market… …   Financial and business terms

  • pay up — {v.} To pay in full; pay the amount of; pay what is owed. * /The monthly installments on the car were paid up./ * /He pays his dues up promptly./ * /He gets behind when he is out of work but always pays up when he is working again./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

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