Definition of employ in English:

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Pronunciation: /əmˈploi/


[with object]
1Give work to (someone) and pay them for it: the firm employs 150 people [with object and infinitive]: temps can be employed to do much of the work
More example sentences
  • The firm employs ten people and hires drivers when required.
  • The firm now employs seven people directly and a further 15 work at other facilities.
  • A total of 30 staff are employed by the firm at its Kendal and Lancaster offices.
hire, engage, recruit, take on, secure the services of, sign up, sign, put on the payroll, enroll, appoint;
retain, contract;
indenture, apprentice
working, in work, in employment, holding down a job;
earning, wage-earning, waged, breadwinning
1.1Keep occupied: most of the newcomers are employed in developing the technology into a product
More example sentences
  • A large number of them are employed in activities such as stitching, packing and embroidery works.
  • They are employed in a variety of roles in the Glasgow bureau.
  • Krifsha was employed in the hiring of limousines, the court heard.
occupy, engage, involve, keep busy, tie up;
absorb, engross, immerse
2Make use of: the methods they have employed to collect the data
More example sentences
  • The method cities employ to collect unpaid property taxes varies from one extreme to another.
  • To maintain the water's clarity and purity, this wilderness area employs ingenious purification methods.
  • We need not look far for contemporary examples of blatant divisive methods employed by community leaders.
use, utilize, make use of, avail oneself of;
apply, exercise, practice, put into practice, exert, bring into play, bring to bear;
draw on, resort to, turn to, have recourse to


[in singular]
1The state or fact of being employed for wages or a salary: I started work in the employ of a grocer and wine merchant
More example sentences
  • This had to do with revealing that she was secretly in the employ of the Central Intelligence Agency, using a cover employer to disguise her affiliation.
  • Having finished his apprenticeship as a diesel mechanic, he had come to Australia in 1957 in the employ of the Commonwealth Government.
  • Thomas was ‘an industrious labourer’ and of ‘good character’, and worked in the employ of the local landowner.
1.1 archaic Employment: her place of employ



Pronunciation: /imˈploid/
Example sentences
  • The ratio of employed workers to population is a statistic of very questionable value.
  • According to the official figures, over half of employed teens work in the retail sector.
  • The rate of mortality for the unemployed is three times higher than for the employed.


Late Middle English (formerly also as imploy): from Old French employer, based on Latin implicari 'be involved in or attached to', passive form of implicare (see imply). In the 16th and 17th century the word also had the senses 'enfold, entangle' and 'imply', derived directly from Latin; compare with implicate.

Words that rhyme with employ

ahoy, alloy, Amoy, annoy, boy, buoy, cloy, coy, destroy, enjoy, Hanoi, hoi polloi, hoy, Illinois, joy, koi, oi, ploy, poi, Roy, savoy, soy, tatsoi, toy, trompe l'œil, troy

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: em·ploy

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