Paid off – definition of Paid off by The Free Dictionary

pay 1


v. paid (pād), pay·ing, pays

1. To give money to in return for goods or services rendered: pay the cashier.

2. To give (money) in exchange for goods or services: paid four dollars for a hamburger; paid an hourly wage.

3. To discharge or settle (a debt or obligation): paying taxes; paid the bill.

4. To bear (a cost or penalty, for example) in recompense: She paid the price for her unpopular opinions.

5. To yield as a return: a savings plan that paid six percent interest.

6. To afford an advantage to; profit: It paid us to be generous.

7. To give or bestow: paying compliments; paying attention.

8. To make (a visit or call).

9. Past tense and past participle paid or payed (pād) To let out (a line or cable) by slackening.


1. To give money in exchange for goods or services.

2. To discharge a debt or obligation.

3. To bear a cost or penalty in recompense: You’ll pay for this mischief!

4. To be profitable or worthwhile: It doesn’t pay to get angry.


1. Of, relating to, giving, or receiving payments.

2. Requiring payment to use or operate: a pay toilet.

3. Yielding valuable metal in mining: a pay streak.


1. The act of paying or state of being paid.

2. Money given in return for work done; salary; wages.


a. Recompense or reward: Your thanks are pay enough.

b. Retribution or punishment.

4. Paid employment: the workers in our pay.

5. A person considered with regard to his or her credit or reliability in discharging debts.

Phrasal Verbs:

pay back

1. To pay or return (what is owed as a debt).

2. To repay (a person who is owed a debt).

3. To give recompense to; reward: How can we ever pay you back for what you’ve done for us?

4. To reciprocate; return: pay back a kindness.

5. To retaliate against or get revenge upon.

pay down

To reduce (a debt) through payment.

pay off

1. To pay the full amount on (a debt).

2. To result in profit or advantage; succeed: Your efforts will eventually pay off.

3. To pay the wages due to (an employee) upon discharge.

4. To pay (a plaintiff) to settle a lawsuit out of court.

5. To bribe.

6. Nautical To turn or cause to turn (a vessel) to leeward.

pay out

1. To give (money) out; spend.

2. To let out (a line or rope) by slackening.

pay up

To give over the full monetary amount demanded.


pay (one’s) dues

To earn a given right or position through hard work, long-term experience, or suffering: She paid her dues in small-town theaters before being cast in a Broadway play.

pay (one’s) way

To contribute one’s own share; pay for oneself.

pay the piper

To bear the consequences of something.

pay through the nose Informal

To pay excessively.

[Middle English paien, from Old French paiier, from Late Latin pācāre, to appease, from Latin, to pacify, subdue, from pāx, pāc-, peace; see pag- in Indo-European roots.]

pay 2


tr.v. payed or paid (pād), pay·ing, pays

To coat or cover (seams of a ship, for example) with waterproof material such as tar or asphalt.

[Obsolete French peier, from Old French, from Latin picāre, from pix, pic-, pitch.]

American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.



vb, pays, paying or paid

1. to discharge (a debt, obligation, etc) by giving or doing something: he paid his creditors.

2. (when: intr, often foll by for) to give (money) to (a person) in return for goods or services: they pay their workers well; they pay by the hour.

3. to give or afford (a person) a profit or benefit: it pays one to be honest.

4. (tr) to give or bestow (a compliment, regards, attention, etc)

5. (tr) to make (a visit or call)

6. (often foll by: for) to give compensation or make amends

7. (tr) to yield a return of: the shares pay 15 per cent.

8. to give or do (something equivalent) in return; pay back: he paid for the insult with a blow.

9. (Nautical Terms) (tr; past tense and past participle paid or payed) nautical to allow (a vessel) to make leeway

10. informal Austral to acknowledge or accept (something) as true, just, etc

11. pay one’s way

a. to contribute one’s share of expenses

b. to remain solvent without outside help


12. (Commerce)

a. money given in return for work or services; a salary or wage

b. (as modifier): pay claim; pay grade.

13. (Commerce) paid employment (esp in the phrase in the pay of)

14. (modifier) requiring the insertion of money or discs before or during use: a pay phone; a pay toilet.

15. (Mining & Quarrying) (modifier) rich enough in minerals to be profitably mined or worked: pay gravel.

[C12: from Old French payer, from Latin pācāre to appease (a creditor), from pāx peace]



vb, pays, paying or payed

(Nautical Terms) (tr) nautical to caulk (the seams of a wooden vessel) with pitch or tar

[C17: from Old French peier, from Latin picāre, from pix pitch]

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



v. paid or (Obs. except for def. 18b) payed, pay•ing, v.t.

1. to discharge or settle (a debt, obligation, etc.), as by transferring money or goods, or by doing something.

2. to give over (money) in exchange for something.

3. to transfer money to (a person or organization) as compensation for work done or services rendered.

4. to defray (cost or expense).

5. to be profitable to: Your training will pay you well in the future.

6. to yield as a return: The stock paid six percent last year.

7. to reward or retaliate against, as for good, harm, or an offense.

8. to give or render (attention, respects, a compliment, etc.), as if due or fitting.

9. to make (a call, visit, etc.).

10. to suffer in retribution; undergo: to pay the penalty for a crime.


11. to transfer money, goods, etc., as in making a purchase or settling a debt.

12. to discharge a debt or obligation.

13. to yield a return, profit, or advantage; be worthwhile: It pays to be courteous.

14. to give compensation, as for damage or loss sustained.

15. to suffer or be punished for something: to pay with one’s life.

16. pay back,

a. to repay or return.

b. to retaliate against; punish.

17. pay off,

a. to pay (someone) everything that is due that person, esp. final wages.

b. to pay (a debt) in full.

c. Informal. to bribe.

d. to retaliate against; punish.

e. to result in success or failure.

18. pay out,

a. to distribute (money, wages, etc.); disburse.

b. to let out (a rope) by slackening.

19. pay up,

a. to pay fully.

b. to pay on demand.


20. the act of paying or being paid; payment.

21. wages, salary, or a stipend.

22. paid employment.


23. operable or accessible on deposit of coins: a pay toilet.

24. pertaining to or requiring payment.


1. pay one’s (own) way, to pay one’s own share of the expenses; be self-supporting.

2. pay through the nose, to pay an exorbitant price.

[1150–1200; Middle English paier pācāre to satisfy, settle (a debt), Latin: to pacify (by force of arms). See peace]



v.t. payed, pay•ing.

to coat or cover (seams, a ship’s bottom, etc.) with pitch, tar, or the like.

[1620–30; peier, Old French picāre to smear with pitch, derivative of pix (s. pic-) pitch2]

Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


The past tense and -ed participle of the verb pay is paid.

If you pay for something which has been done or provided, you give money to the person who does or provides it.

You should be paid for the work you do.

Roberto paid for the tickets.

Be Careful!
You must use for after pay in sentences like these. Don’t say, for example, ‘Roberto paid the tickets‘.

Be Careful!
Don’t say ‘pay someone a drink‘ or ‘pay someone a meal‘. Say that you buy someone a drink or buy someone a meal.

The boss bought us all a drink to celebrate.

Come on, I’ll buy you lunch.

You can also say that you take someone out for a meal.

My aunt took me out for dinner on my birthday.

Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012

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