Grammar: paid vs. payed

Can someone please explain to me the difference?


There is no difference; the two forms are ingterchangeable. However the form “paid” is used far more frequently. “Payed” is used only rarely, if ever, these days.

According to Merriam-Webster, if you’re talking about paying out a rope, then the past tense is “payed”, but in other senses of the word (such as paying a sum of money) the past tense is “paid”.

I concur with everton, with two small nitpicks: “to pay” meaning “to coat with pitch” also uses “payed” for a past tense, and I believe that it’s a dialectal alternate spelling (substandard?) for the normal meaning (“to remit, to give currency for”) in parts of England.

My desk dictionary doesn’t have the dialectal monetary reference (maybe the OED does?), but it does indeed have “to caulk (the seams of a wooden vessel) with pitch or tar”. From Old French peier, from Latin picâre, from pix pitch apparently.

It also has “payed” as an alternative past tense and past participle for “Nautical. to allow (a vessel) to make leeway”, which sounds quite like the rope thing to me.

Excellent. Thanks, guys!

Does this mean that I shouldn’t be upset when people use “payed” in the money sense?

Unless he’s stringing you a line …