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From Old French repaier (to pay back), from re- + paiier (to pay), from Latin pācāre (to settle, to make peaceful), from pāx (peace) + (forming verbs). Equivalent to re- +‎ pay. Cognate with repacify and French repayer (to pay again).


  • IPA(key): /ɹiˈpeɪ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪ


repay (third-person singular simple present repays, present participle repaying, simple past and past participle repaid)

  1. Synonym of pay back in all senses.
    I finally repaid my student loans, just before sending my kids to college.
    • 1962 April, “Talking of Trains: Short-sighted approach to profits?”, in Modern Railways, page 219:
      On the results of the Kent Coast electrification, which is known to be repaying so far a satisfactory return on the investment in it, a Waterloo-Bournemouth scheme shows reasonable financial promise.
  2. (transitive) To make worthwhile; to yield a result worth the effort.
    • 2013, M. Pavone-MacAluso, Testicular Cancer and Other Tumors of the Genitourinary Tract (page 517)
      The possible importance of excessive androgen secretion and the ingestion of agents such as the fluorenamines may repay further investigation.

Derived terms[edit]