means to praise right?
Literally, it refers to paying someone compensation to acknowledge one's inferiority or for protection. Weak countries used to pay more powerful countries tribute in exchange for protection, and vassals in feudal countries payed tribute to their lords in exchange for using their lord's land. Nowadays, though, people often use "pay tribute" more figuratively, with the meaning of "show respect".
The words "to pay tribute to" are most often used in relation to a person who had just died, a bit like a eulogy really, decribing all the positive and noteworthy things s/he has done throughout their life.