Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of employ
Meaning of employ by Wiktionary Dictionary


    Alternative forms


    From Middle French employer, from Latin implicare ( “to infold, involve, engage” ), from in ( “in” ) + plicare ( “to fold” ). Compare imply, which is a doublet of employ .


    • Rhymes: -ɔɪ


    employ ( plural: employs )

    1. The state of being an employee; employment .
      The school district has six thousand teachers in its employ .



    employ ( third-person singular simple present employs present participle employing, simple past and past participle employed )

    1. To give someone work or a job.
      • 1668 July 3ʳᵈ, James Dalrymple, “Thomas Rue contra Andrew Houſtoun” in The Deciſions of the Lords of Council & Seſſion I ( Edinburgh, 1683 ), page 547
        Andrew Houſtoun and Adam Muſhet, being Tackſmen of the Excize, did Imploy Thomas Rue to be their Collec‍tor, and gave him a Sallary of 30. pound Sterling for a year .
    2. To put something into use or service; to make use of .
      How do you employ your spare time?

    External links

    • employ in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
    • employ in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911
    • employ at OneLook Dictionary Search

Explanation of employ by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. put into service

    2. engage or hire for work

    3. How many people has she employed?
    1. the state of being employed or having a job

    2. they are looking for employment
      he was in the employ of the city

    Definition of employ by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Employ v. t. [imp. & p. p. Employed ; p. pr. & vb. n. Employing.] [F. employer, fr. L. implicare to fold into, infold, involve, implicate, engage; in + plicare to fold. See Ply, and cf. Imply, Implicate.]
      1. To inclose; to infold. [Obs.] Chaucer.

      2. To use; to have in service; to cause to be engaged in doing something; -- often followed by in, about, on, or upon, and sometimes by to; as: To make use of, as an instrument, a means, a material, etc., for a specific purpose; to apply; as, “to employ the pen in writing, bricks in building, words and phrases in speaking; to employ the mind; to employ one's energies.”

      This is a day in which the thoughts . . . ought to be employed on serious subjects. Addison.

      To occupy; as, to employ time in study. To have or keep at work; to give employment or occupation to; to intrust with some duty or behest; as, “to employ a hundred workmen; to employ an envoy”.

      Jonathan . . . and Jahaziah . . . were employed about this matter. Ezra x. 15.

      Thy vineyard must employ the sturdy steer

      To turn the glebe. Dryden.

      To employ one's self, to apply or devote one's time and attention; to busy one's self.

      Syn. -- To use; busy; apply; exercise; occupy; engross; engage. See Use.

    2. Employ, n. [Cf. F. emploi.] That which engages or occupies a person; fixed or regular service or business; employment.

      The whole employ of body and of mind. Pope.

      In one's employ, in one's service.