Stories We Like: A Guide to the Comma
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.
income derived from human labour. Technically, wages and salaries cover all compensation made to employees for either physical or mental work, but they do not represent the income of the self-employed. Labour costs are not identical to wage and salary costs, because total labour costs may include such items as cafeterias or meeting rooms maintained for the convenience of employees. Wages and salaries usually include remuneration such as paid vacations, holidays, and sick leave, as well as fringe benefits and supplements in the form of pensions or health insurance sponsored by the employer. Additional compensation can be paid in the form of bonuses or stock options, many of which are linked to individual or group performance