Etymology
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payoff (n.)

also pay-off, by 1905, "winnings from gambling," from pay (v.) + off (adv.). Meaning "graft, bribes" is attested by 1930. The verbal phrase pay off is by 1710 in the sense of "pay in full and discharge" (workers); by 1937 as "be profitable, succeed."

updated on March 05, 2020

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