verb (used with object)
to hire or engage the services of (a person or persons); provide employment for; have or keep in one's service: This factory employs thousands of people.
to keep busy or at work; engage the attentions of: He employs himself by reading after work.
to make use of (an instrument, means, etc.); use; apply: to employ a hammer to drive a nail.
to occupy or devote (time, energies, etc.): I employ my spare time in reading. I employ all my energies in writing.
employment; service: to be in someone's employ.

1425–75; late Middle English employen < Anglo-French, Middle French emploierLatin implicāre to enfold (Late Latin: to engage); see implicate

de-employed, adjective
nonemploying, adjective
overemploy, verb (used with object)
preemploy, verb (used with object)
reemploy, verb (used with object)
well-employed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
employ (ɪmˈplɔɪ)
1.  to engage or make use of the services of (a person) in return for money; hire
2.  to provide work or occupation for; keep busy; occupy: collecting stamps employs a lot of his time
3.  to use as a means: to employ secret measures to get one's ends
4.  the state of being employed (esp in the phrase in someone's employ)
[C15: from Old French emploier, from Latin implicāre to entangle, engage, from plicāre to fold]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

mid-15c., from M.Fr. employer, from O.Fr. empleier, from L. implicare "enfold, involve, be connected with," from in- "in" + plicare "to fold" see ply (v.)). Sense of "hire, engage" first recorded in English 1580s, from "involve in a particular purpose."
Imply, which is the same word, retains more of the original sense.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
SE employs outside companies to provide marketing services on our behalf.
It employs standardized exams and teachers without master's degrees.
It employs storytelling and you-are-there photography to inspire readers to
  pick up and go.
But the group also employs non-traditional maneuvers, such as posing as buyers
  and infiltrating poaching rings.
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