Definition of wage in English:

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Pronunciation: /wāj/


(usually wages)
1A fixed regular payment, typically paid on a daily or weekly basis, made by an employer to an employee, especially to a manual or unskilled worker: we were struggling to get better wages Compare with salary.
More example sentences
  • That means a writer not only has to write, but crucially, have accepted, three plays a year just to earn the national average wage.
  • They were weary of working twelve hour days, seven days a week for subsistence wages.
  • This is already the case for ministers of state, who employ their drivers on a fixed wage.
pay, payment, remuneration, salary, stipend, fee, honorarium;
income, revenue;
profit, gain, reward;
earnings, paycheck;
British  pay packet
formal emolument
1.1 (wages) Economics The part of total production that is the return to labor as earned income, as distinct from the remuneration received by capital as unearned income.
Example sentences
  • The only major item that is controlled in the Celtic tiger economy is wages.
  • The wages share of national income down (and the profits took up most of the slack).
  • Its flip side is the nation's income: wages and salaries, profits, interest and rent.
1.2The result or effect of doing something considered wrong or unwise: the wages of sin is death
More example sentences
  • It is because sin is universal, and death is the consequence or wages of sin.
  • Call it the greenhouse effect or the wages of tampering too much with the environment.
  • Extensive lung damage resulting from inhalation of the deadly vapours were the wages of his diligence.
reward, recompense, retribution;
returns, deserts


[with object]
Carry on (a war or campaign): it is necessary to destroy their capacity to wage war
More example sentences
  • John F. Kerry criticized Bush for failing to conduct adequate diplomacy before waging war on Iraq.
  • Why is the Executive not waging war on underachievement among the underprivileged in our schools?
  • The last council became bigoted against cars and squandered vast amounts of council tax payer's money waging war on them.
engage in, carry on, conduct, execute, pursue, prosecute, proceed with


Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French and Old Northern French, of Germanic origin; related to gage1 and wed.

  • engage from Late Middle English:

    Gage is an old word that means ‘a valued object deposited as a guarantee of good faith’ and, as a verb, ‘to give as a pledge’. An Old French word related to wage (Middle English) and wedding ( see marry), it is the root of engage. Engage originally meant ‘give as a pledge’ and ‘pawn or mortgage’, later coming to express the ideas ‘to pledge or guarantee’ and ‘to enter into a contract’. People have been getting engaged to be married since the beginning of the 18th century: the first recorded example is by Henry Fielding (1707–54), author of Joseph Andrews and Tom Jones.

Words that rhyme with wage

age, assuage, backstage, cage, downstage, engage, enrage, gage, gauge, mage, multistage, offstage, onstage, Osage, page, Paige, rage, rampage, sage, stage, swage, under-age, upstage

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: wage

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