Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Does "payless" mean "for zero price", and "free" (as in beer)?

I searched the dictionaries but could not find the word.

I also wonder whether "cost-free" means the same.

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

"Payless" is not a word in standard English, which is why you can't find it in dictionaries. It may have been invented (possibly multiple times) for advertising or marketing purposes, and in those contexts it probably means "free" or "low price".

For example, there is a shoe chain in the US called Payless Shoes (http://payless.com), but the intention of the word in that context is to suggest that you "pay less", not that you pay nothing.

"Cost-free" is also not a standard English construction, but it would be interpreted to mean that something is free.

share|improve this answer
2  
A good answer, which I have up-voted, but I would caution that "cost-free" might also be interpreted as "at-cost", which means priced such that there is no profit (or loss). –  Hexagon Tiling Mar 31 '12 at 13:12
2  
I find it hard to imagine a context where "payless" could be intended to mean "free". Perhaps for the obvious reason that normally it's used in advertising contexts to mean "if you buy this from us, you'll pay less than you would to buy the equivalent elsewhere". In short, I don't parse it the same as, say, a painless operation, or a loveless marriage. –  FumbleFingers Mar 31 '12 at 14:19
2  
Two thoughts: payless could mean 'without pay'. "I am payless this week." ( I did not receive a paycheck) Also, 'cost-free' to my thinking means more than just zero-price, there are plenty of other costs that can be incurred- costs to society etc, that may still be present with a zero-priced item. "Cost-free" things in the broad scope are probably pretty rare. –  Jim Mar 31 '12 at 17:18
    
What about "costless" and "pay-free"? –  Anixx Apr 4 '12 at 22:40
    
Are you simply trying to invent words? "Pay-free" doesn't exist, and is not needed. "Costless" would be hard to interpret, since it carries a bit of a suggestion of "priceless," which means "extremely valuable," but this is not at all what you mean by this word. Furthermore, it is also unnecessary, since "free" works perfectly fine. "At no cost" can be used, and "gratis" is also a decent synonym. So again I ask, what is your purpose here? Inventing unnecessary words seems a waste of time. –  John M. Landsberg Mar 31 '13 at 9:55

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.