verb (used with object)
- to hire or engage the services of (a person or persons); provide employment for; have or keep in one’s service: This factory employs thousands of people.
- to keep busy or at work; engage the attentions of: He employs himself by reading after work.
- to make use of (an instrument, means, etc.); use; apply: to employ a hammer to drive a nail.
- to occupy or devote (time, energies, etc.): I employ my spare time in reading. I employ all my energies in writing.
- employment; service: to be in someone’s employ.
- to engage or make use of the services of (a person) in return for money; hire
- to provide work or occupation for; keep busy; occupycollecting stamps employs a lot of his time
- to use as a meansto employ secret measures to get one’s ends
- the state of being employed (esp in the phrase in someone’s employ)
early 15c., from Middle French employer, from Old French emploiier (12c.) “make use of, apply; increase; entangle; devote,” from Latin implicare “enfold, involve, be connected with,” from in- (see in- (2)) + plicare “to fold” (see ply (v.1)).
Sense of “hire, engage” first recorded in English 1580s, from “involve in a particular purpose,” a sense which arose in Late Latin. Related: Employed; employing. The noun is 1660s, from French emploi. Imply, which is the same word, retains more of the original sense.