Payed vs. Paid: When to Use Paid vs. Payed with Useful Examples

Last Updated on December 8, 2023

Payed vs. paid, two variations that sound similar but have different applications. Isn’t it annoying that one word can have different meanings and, depending on which meaning you’re using, it can also have different forms in different tenses? How to know the difference?

The Main Differences between Payed and Paid

Payed vs. PaidPin

Payed vs. Paid: Key Takeaways

  • “Paid” is the standard past tense form for financial transactions.
  • “Payed” is specific to nautical terms, particularly dealing with ropes and cables.

Payed vs. Paid: the Definition 

What Does “Payed” Mean?

Payed” only refers to the nautical meanings of the verb “to pay”. 

One nautical meaning of “to pay” is “to cover with tar”. So, if someone covered the deck with tar, you can say that they payed the deck.

What Does “Paid” Mean?

Paid, on the other hand, is used when you’re talking about anything else that requires the verb “to pay” in the past tense.

Almost in every other sentence, you need to use paid. For example, you can say that you liked your new professor because she always paid attention and listened to every single student in the room. Or, you can say that you’ve paid for the hotel room online. Finally, if you’ve attended someone’s funeral, you can say that you’ve paid your last respects to this person.

Payed vs. Paid: Usage and Examples

Usage of “Payed”

In nautical terms, “payed” is a verb used to describe the action of sealing the seams of a wooden ship with a waterproof substance such as pitch or tar to prevent water from seeping in. It can also mean to let out a line or cable, such as an anchor chain, gradually.


  • The shipwright payed the ship’s seams to ensure it was ready for the long voyage.
  • The sailor payed out the rope as the boat drifted to the dock.

Usage of “Paid”

The term “paid” is the past tense of the verb “pay,” which means to give money to someone for goods or services, or to settle a debt.


  • She paid the bill after finishing her meal at the restaurant.
  • He paid his monthly rent on time.

Tips To Remember The Difference

  • ‘Paid’ is the Standard Past Tense: When you’re referring to the completion of a financial transaction, always use “paid.” This is the standard past tense of “to pay.”
  • ‘Payed’ is for Sailing Terminology: “Payed” is a specialized term used in a nautical context, meaning to let out a rope or cable.

Payed vs. Paid Examples in Sentences

Examples of “Payed”

  • The sailor payed out the rope slowly, ensuring it didn’t tangle as it uncoiled.
  • During maintenance, we payed the seams of the wooden deck to make it watertight.
  • The captain ordered the crew to pay out more anchor chain as the storm approached.
  • After docking, we payed out the lines to secure the boat to the pier.
  • The old ship had been payed thoroughly to prepare it for the long voyage ahead.
  • The shipwright payed the seams with care to ensure the ship was watertight.
  • After anchoring, the sailor payed out the line to give the boat more leeway.
  • Once the repairs were made, they payed the deck with a new layer of tar.

Examples of “Paid”

  • She paid the cashier and took her groceries.
  • The workers were paid on the last day of each month.
  • He paid a lot of money for that rare stamp in his collection.
  • After months of hard work, her efforts finally paid off.
  • They paid tribute to the retiring CEO with a grand farewell party.
  • The tourists paid the guide for his services after the tour concluded.
  • paid attention to the details to avoid any mistakes.
  • They paid their respects at the memorial service.

Payed vs. Paid: Practice and Exercise

Fill in the Blank – “Payed” vs. “Paid”

Complete the sentences below with the correct word: “payed” or “paid.”

  1. She _______ out the rope slowly as the boat drifted.
  2. He _______ for dinner last night.
  3. The workers have _______ attention to every detail on the project.
  4. I have already _______ the invoice you sent me.
  5. The sailor _______ out more line to stabilize the ship during the storm.
  6. They _______ their respects at the memorial service.

Answers with Explanations:

  1. payed
    • “Payed” is a nautical term meaning to let out a rope or cable, typically used in boating or sailing.
  2. paid
    • “Paid” is the past tense and past participle of “pay,” meaning to give money in exchange for goods or services.
  3. paid
    • “Paid” is the past tense and past participle of “pay,” but it is also used metaphorically to mean giving attention to something.
  4. paid
    • “Paid” is the correct past tense form of “pay,” indicating that the action of settling the invoice has been completed.
  5. payed
    • “Payed” is used here with its nautical meaning, referring to letting out line or rope.
  6. paid
    • “Paid” is used to express the action of giving tribute or respect, a non-monetary sense of the word “pay.”

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between “paid” and “payed”?
Paid is the correct past tense form used for financial transactions, such as when you have given money for goods or services. Payed, however, is an archaic term mostly used in nautical contexts, referring to sealing the deck or hull of a boat with tar or pitch.

When should you use “paid”?
You should use paid when talking about monetary transactions. For instance:

  • paid the bills yesterday.
  • She has already paid for her order.

Is “payed” a common term in modern English?
No, payed is not commonly used in modern English, except in very specific nautical contexts. Example:

  • The sailor payed out the rope as the boat approached the dock.

Can “payed” ever be used instead of “paid”?
No, in contemporary usage, paid is the correct term to use for financial contexts. Payed is incorrect outside its specific nautical usage.

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