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[weyj] /weɪdʒ/
Often, wages. money that is paid or received for work or services, as by the hour, day, or week.
Usually, wages. Economics. the share of the products of industry received by labor for its work (as distinct from the share going to capital).
Usually, wages. (used with a singular or plural verb) recompense or return:
The wages of sin is death.
Obsolete. a pledge or security.
verb (used with object), waged, waging.
to carry on (a battle, war, conflict, argument, etc.):
to wage war against a nation.
Chiefly British Dialect. to hire.
  1. to stake or wager.
  2. to pledge.
verb (used without object), waged, waging.
Obsolete. to contend; struggle.
Origin of wage
1275-1325; (noun) Middle English: pledge, security < Anglo-French; Old French guage gage1 < Vulgar Latin *wadium < Germanic (see wed); (v.) Middle English wagen to pledge < Anglo-French wagier; Old French guagier < Vulgar Latin *wadiāre, derivative of *wadium
Related forms
wageless, adjective
wagelessness, noun
underwage, noun
Can be confused
salary, wages.
1. earnings, emolument, compensation, remuneration. See pay1 . 5. undertake, prosecute. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for wages
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This so pleased Noel that he advanced my wages to a dollar and a half a week.

  • Jose, have you been paid your wages for the last six months?

    A Prisoner of Morro Upton Sinclair
  • If Jemima goes at her month, as she threatens, will she not forfeit her wages?

    Mollie's Prince Rosa Nouchette Carey
  • I paid him the balance of wages due him, and we parted with a hearty shake of hands.

    Up the River Oliver Optic
  • To be two or three days behind with his wages, for instance, was impossible.

    White Nights and Other Stories Fyodor Dostoevsky
British Dictionary definitions for wages


  1. (often pl) payment in return for work or services, esp that made to workmen on a daily, hourly, weekly, or piece-work basis Compare salary
  2. (as modifier): wage freeze
(pl) (economics) the portion of the national income accruing to labour as earned income, as contrasted with the unearned income accruing to capital in the form of rent, interest, and dividends
(often pl) recompense, return, or yield
an obsolete word for pledge
verb (transitive)
to engage in
(obsolete) to pledge or wager
(archaic) another word for hire (sense 1), hire (sense 2)
Derived Forms
wageless, adjective
wagelessness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old Northern French wagier to pledge, from wage, of Germanic origin; compare Old English weddian to pledge, wed
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for wages



c.1300, "a payment for services rendered," also in Middle English "a pledge of security" (mid-14c.), from Old North French wage (Old French guage) "pledge," from Frankish *wadja- (cf. Old English wedd, Gothic wadi "pledge"); see wed. Modern French cognate gages (plural) means "wages of a domestic," one of a plethora of French words for different classes, e.g. traitement (university professor), paye, salaire (workman), solde (soldier), récompense, prix. The Old English word was lean, related to loan and representing the usual Germanic form (cf. Gothic laun, Dutch loon, German lohn).


early 14c., "to pledge, deposit as a pledge," from Old North French wagier (Old French gagier), from wage (see wage (n.)). Meaning "to carry on" (of war, etc.) is attested from mid-15c., probably from earlier sense of "to offer as a gage of battle" (early 15c.). Related: Waged; waging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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wages in Culture

wages definition

Payment for services to a worker, usually remuneration on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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wages in the Bible

Rate of (mention only in Matt. 20:2); to be punctually paid (Lev. 19:13; Deut. 24:14, 15); judgements threatened against the withholding of (Jer. 22:13; Mal. 3:5; comp. James 5:4); paid in money (Matt. 20:1-14); to Jacob in kind (Gen. 29:15, 20; 30:28; 31:7, 8, 41).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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