pay (one) a compliment

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pay (one) a compliment

To compliment one; to give one a piece of praise. It took me a little while to realize that he was paying me a compliment. It isn't often she pays her employees compliments, so you should really feel proud.
See also: compliment, pay

pay someone compliment

Fig. to give someone a compliment. Tom paid Bill a compliment when he told him he was intelligent. Mary was very gracious when Anne paid her a compliment.
See also: compliment, pay

pay a compliment

Express praise or commendation to someone, as in Meredith wanted to pay Christopher a compliment so she told him she liked his new haircut . This expression uses pay in the sense of "give something that is due." [c. 1700]
See also: compliment, pay