tr.v. em·ployed, em·ploy·ing, em·ploys
a. To provide work to (someone) for pay: agreed to employ the job applicant.
b. To engage the attention or activity of; occupy: employed himself for an hour reading blogs.
2. To put (something) to use or service: employed a pen to open the package; employed her skills in the new job.
3. To devote (time, for example) to an activity or purpose: employed several months in learning Swahili.
1. The state of being employed: in the employ of the city.
2. Archaic An occupation.
[Middle English emploien, from Old French emploier, from Latin implicāre, to involve : in-, in; see EN-1 + plicāre, to fold; see plek- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.