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payoff

[pey-awf, -of] /ˈpeɪˌɔf, -ˌɒf/
noun
1.
the payment of a salary, debt, wager, etc.
2.
the time at which such payment is made.
3.
the consequence, outcome, or final sequence in a series of events, actions, or circumstances:
The payoff was when they fired him.
4.
Informal. the climax of something, especially a story or joke.
5.
a settlement or reckoning, as in retribution or reward.
6.
Informal. a bribe.
adjective
7.
yielding results, especially rewarding or decisive results:
The payoff play was the long pass into the end zone.
Origin
1910-1915
1910-15; noun, adj. use of verb phrase pay off
Synonyms
3. climax, upshot, finale.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for payoff
  • The salad days of summer are the payoff for living through months of rain.
  • The payoff of this reticence is an absorption in the artist's touch.
  • The payoff of abiding its deathliness is a sense of being brought fully, tinglingly alive.
  • For such a personality, losing may offer as great an emotional payoff as winning.
  • If both choose to defect, however, they risk losing out on the payoff because they could be outfoxed by the partner.
  • For both finch species, the researchers note, feeding is a trade-off between effort and payoff.
  • Credit card companies will be required to include additional information on statements about payoff.
  • From the start, the movie lays the groundwork for a cathartic payoff.
  • To be honest, this sort of thing is the main payoff of having a web site.
  • The payoff for a successfully placed item is the effect of the story itself in influencing media coverage.
British Dictionary definitions for payoff

pay off

verb
1.
(transitive, adverb) to pay all that is due in wages, etc, and discharge from employment
2.
(transitive, adverb) to pay the complete amount of (a debt, bill, etc)
3.
(intransitive, adverb) to turn out to be profitable, effective, etc: the gamble paid off
4.
(transitive, adverb) or intr, preposition. to take revenge on (a person) or for (a wrong done): to pay someone off for an insult
5.
(transitive, adverb) (informal) to give a bribe to
6.
(intransitive, adverb) (nautical) (of a vessel) to make leeway
noun
7.
the final settlement, esp in retribution: the payoff came when the gang besieged the squealer's house
8.
(informal) the climax, consequence, or outcome of events, a story, etc, esp when unexpected or improbable
9.
the final payment of a debt, salary, etc
10.
the time of such a payment
11.
(informal) a bribe
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 payoff
n.

also pay-off, 1905, "winnings from gambling," from pay (v.) + off. Meaning "graft, bribes" first attested 1930. Phrase to pay off "be profitable" is first recorded 1937.

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

payoff

noun
  1. Payment, esp of bribery, graft, etc: The villains were waiting for their payoff (1930+ Underworld)
  2. The final outcome or bit of information, esp when it is surprising or amusing: ok, here's the payoff, she's the Albanian consul! (1926+)

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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