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An Australian coworker of mine wrote, "The deposit is equal to a month's hire." I'm wondering whether "hire" in British English can mean "money you pay to hire (i.e. rent) something," as it is used here.

I'd appreciate your help.

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Yes, it can. Collins Dictionary includes the following among the definitions of "hire":

  1. a. the price paid or payable for a person's services or the temporary use of something

The use of "rent" and "hire" differs between British and American English. In American English, only people or services are hired. In Britain and Australia, "hire" is often used for vehicles and equipment.

If the item concerned is one that Australians normally "hire" rather than "renting", it is probably more natural for the speaker to refer to "a month's hire" rather than a month's rent.

  • Can I use "rental" instead? – Apollyon Oct 14 '17 at 10:25
  • You could say "a month's rent". However, it is possible that "hire" is more idiomatic in AusE or BrE for the particular type of rental being paid for. On the other hand, it's also quite likely that both terms are considered correct. If you are speaking AmE, "rent" would be the standard term. I'm not sure if you can use "rental" for the rental sum (you would certainly use "rental" for the rental agreement). – rjpond Oct 14 '17 at 14:15

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