"wages" as payment *by* worker

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Nov 19 06:19:55 UTC 2008

I have seen 18th-century uses of "wages" to mean payment *by* a
worker  -- if a slave was hired out and earned money for labor, he
would have to pay his owner an agreed amount that his time was worth
to his owner (and generally the slave was able to keep any excess for himself).

This seems a reversal of the common sense of  "wages" being paid *to*
a worker, and I don't see it in the OED.  Am I missing something, or
is it absent?


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