What word does your mother always say?


[pey-bak] /ˈpeɪˌbæk/
the period of time required to recoup a capital investment.
the return on an investment:
a payback of 15 percent tax-free.
the act or fact of paying back; repayment.
something done in retaliation:
a really vicious payback for years of being snubbed.
Origin of payback
1955-60; noun use of verb phrase pay back Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for payback
  • Managers are reluctant to invest in efficiency unless the return is high and the payback time is short.
  • The paper you sign says if you don't return, you payback some portion of your salary.
  • The advantages are twofold: short-term income and a larger payback over the long term.
  • Of course, the payback will be faster if the global price of oil increases.
  • The uranium could well become the big payback of dismantlement.
  • The benefit of this long-term approach is that you'll get more of a payback.
  • In economics terms, this is similar to the payback time for an investment.
  • The cost of technology over time does have tremendous payback.
  • The payback for the consumer is they pay more but get a product that lasts longer.
  • We can adjust the payback rate for more distant events.
British Dictionary definitions for payback

pay back

verb (transitive, adverb)
to retaliate against: to pay someone back for an insult
to give or do (something equivalent) in return for a favour, insult, etc
to repay (a loan)
  1. the return on an investment
  2. Also called payback period. the time taken for a project to cover its outlay
  1. something done in order to gain revenge
  2. (as modifier): payback killings
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 payback

also pay-back, 1946, "net return on profits from an investment," from pay (v.) + back (adj.). Meaning "revenge" is attested from 1957.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for payback



Revenge; retaliation: Payback is the idiom of East Africa, but the rule is that innocents always get hurt (1970+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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