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Related to Paul: Paul the Apostle

Paul Pry

A nosy, meddlesome person. The phrase refers to the title character of a 19th-century play by John Poole. Come on, Paul Pry, stop asking so many questions about my personal life!
See also: Paul, pry

rob Peter to pay Paul

To borrow or take money from one person or source to fund or repay the debt of another. Mr. Hardy's law firm has fallen into arrears of late, and he's been robbing Peter to pay Paul just to keep the business afloat. Never use a credit card to pay a debt—that's just robbing Peter to pay Paul!
See also: Paul, pay, peter, rob

rob Peter to pay Paul

Fig. to take or borrow from one in order to give or pay something owed to another. Why borrow money to pay your bills? That's just robbing Peter to pay Paul. There's no point in robbing Peter to pay Paul. You will still be in debt.
See also: Paul, pay, peter, rob

rob Peter to pay Paul

Take from one to give to another, shift resources. For example, They took out a second mortgage on their house so they could buy a condo in Florida-they're robbing Peter to pay Paul . Although legend has it that this expression alludes to appropriating the estates of St. Peter's Church, in Westminster, London, to pay for the repairs of St. Paul's Cathedral in the 1800s, the saying first appeared in a work by John Wycliffe about 1382.
See also: Paul, pay, peter, rob

be robbing Peter to pay Paul

If someone is robbing Peter to pay Paul, they are using money that is meant for one thing to pay for something else. I have not starved yet but I am very conscious of failing to pay back debts, of robbing Peter to pay Paul.
See also: Paul, pay, peter, rob

rob Peter to pay Paul

take something away from one person to pay another, leaving the former at a disadvantage; discharge one debt only to incur another.
This expression probably arose in reference to the saints and apostles Peter and Paul , who are often shown together as equals in Christian art and who therefore may be presumed to be equally deserving of honour and devotion. It is uncertain whether a specific allusion is intended; variants of the phrase include unclothe Peter and clothe Paul and borrow from Peter to pay Paul .
1997 New Scientist So far, NASA has been able to rob Peter to pay Paul, taking money from the shuttle and science programmes to keep the ISS on track.
See also: Paul, pay, peter, rob

rob ˌPeter to pay ˈPaul

(saying) take money from one area and spend it in another: Government spending on education has not increased. Some areas have improved, but only as a result of robbing Peter to pay Paul.
See also: Paul, pay, peter, rob

rob Peter to pay Paul

To incur a debt in order to pay off another debt.
See also: Paul, pay, peter, rob

rob Peter to pay Paul

Use funds from one source to repay a debt. If you use one credit card to pay off another, even if you're benefiting by buying time, you're robbing Peter to pay Paul. How the phrase came to be associated with what would seem to be the two apostles is a mystery, since neither was associated with precarious financial planning.
See also: Paul, pay, peter, rob
References in classic literature ?
So Paul was sent away and bravely said good-bye to them all, for he was glad to go to live in a house where he would have boy companions.
Said Paul 'It fills me with surprise To hear you talk in such a tone: I fear you scarcely realise The blessings that are all your own!
One can't be too deliberate,' Said Paul, 'in parting with one's pelf.
Among those who did not see eye to eye with Paul in his views on deportment in waitresses was M.
Paul had a message to deliver to the cook respecting 'two fried, coffee, and one stale'.
Indeed," cried Paul of Merely, "spoken as one of the King's foreign favorites might speak, and they ever told the good God's truth.
Beauchamp and Greystoke laughed aloud at the discomfiture of Paul of Merely, but the latter's face hardened in anger, and without further words he strode forward with outstretched hand to tear open the boy's leathern jerkin, but met with the gleaming point of a sword and a quick sharp, "En garde
Some day I'll be able to boast that I whipped the distinguished Paul Irving.
When he came round to the front door they heard the stiff Paul open it, and heard the new arrival say cheerfully, "Well, you see I have come.
Paul, indeed, was not so much a butler as a sort of steward or, even, chamberlain; he dined privately, but with almost as much pomp as his master; he was feared by all the servants; and he consulted with the prince decorously, but somewhat unbendingly-- rather as if he were the prince's solicitor.
If Paul memorized one canto of "Marmion," Lloyd memorized two cantos, Paul came back with three, and Lloyd again with four, till each knew the whole poem by heart.
When Paul Tichlorne entered college, he let it be generally understood that he was going in for the social sciences.
Paul Ford's eyes left the leaf and gazed wonderingly into Pollyanna's merry little face.
Paul Ford's study that evening the minister sat thinking.
Look here, old trapper: few men love Ishmael Bush and his seven sledge-hammer sons less than one Paul Hover; but I scorn to slander even a Tennessee shotgun.