pay (v.)

c. 1200, paien, "to appease, pacify, satisfy, be to the liking of," from Old French paier "to pay, pay up" (12c., Modern French payer), from Latin pacare "to please, pacify, satisfy" (in Medieval Latin especially "satisfy a creditor"), literally "make peaceful," from pax (genitive pacis) "peace" (see peace).

The meaning "to give what is due for goods or services" arose in Medieval Latin and was attested in English by early 13c.; the sense of "please, pacify" died out in English by 1500. Figurative sense of "suffer, endure" (a punishment, etc.) is first recorded late 14c. Meaning "to give or render" with little or no sense of obligation (pay attention, pay respects, pay a compliment) is by 1580s. Meaning "be remunerative, be profitable, yield a suitable return or reward" is by 1812. Related: Paid; paying. To pay up was originally (mid-15c.) "make up the difference between two sums of money;" the sense of "pay fully or promptly" is by 1911. Pay television is attested by 1957.

pay (n.)

c. 1300, paie, "satisfaction, liking; reward, reprisal," from pay (v.), or else from Old French paie "payment, recompense," from paier. Meaning "money or other compensation given for labor or services performed, wages" is from late 14c. In Middle English the usual sense was "satisfaction": My pay meant "my liking;" God's pay was "God's good will."

updated on May 06, 2022

Definitions of pay from WordNet
pay (v.)
give money, usually in exchange for goods or services;
I paid four dollars for this sandwich
pay (v.)
convey, as of a compliment, regards, attention, etc.; bestow;
pay attention
Don't pay him any mind
Synonyms: give
pay (v.)
cancel or discharge a debt;
pay up, please!
Synonyms: pay up / ante up
pay (v.)
bring in;
How much does this savings certificate pay annually?
Synonyms: yield / bear
pay (v.)
do or give something to somebody in return;
Does she pay you for the work you are doing?
Synonyms: pay off / make up / compensate
pay (v.)
pay attention to
Synonyms: give / devote
pay (v.)
be worth it;
It pays to go through the trouble
pay (v.)
pay a visit
pay a call
pay (v.)
bear (a cost or penalty), in recompense for some action;
She had to pay the penalty for speaking out rashly
You'll pay for this opinion later
You'll pay for this!
pay (v.)
make a compensation for;
a favor that cannot be paid back
pay (v.)
discharge or settle;
pay a debt
pay an obligation
pay (n.)
something that remunerates;
wages were paid by check
he wasted his pay on drink
Synonyms: wage / earnings / remuneration / salary
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.