return the compliment

return the compliment

 and return someone's compliment
to pay a compliment to someone who has paid you a compliment. Mary told me that my hair looked nice, so I returned her compliment and told her that her hair was lovely. When someone says something nice, it is polite to return the compliment.
See also: compliment, return

return the compliment

1. to do something for someone because they have done something for you Our neighbors looked after the house while we were away, and we'll return the compliment when they go on vacation.
2. to do or say something unfriendly to someone because they have made you angry The batter was thrown out of the game, so he returned the compliment by calling the umpire a fool.
Related vocabulary: return the favor
See also: compliment, return

return the compliment

to do something for someone because they have done something for you Thanks for looking after the house while we were away. I hope I'll be able to return the compliment some time.
See also: compliment, return

return the compliment

Also, return the favor. Repay someone in kind, as in Her political opponent came out with a smear campaign, and she returned the compliment. Neither the compliment nor the favor in this idiom is necessarily desirable. [First half of 1700s]
See also: compliment, return
References in classic literature ?
Now, Miss Squeers being five years older, and out of her teens (which is also a great matter), had, since, been more than commonly anxious to return the compliment, and possess her friend with a similar secret; but, either in consequence of finding it hard to please herself, or harder still to please anybody else, had never had an opportunity so to do, inasmuch as she had no such secret to disclose.
For I know that all pretty young gentlemen like to have pretty similes made about them--as well they may--but I shall not return the compliment.
You mus'n't return the compliment and call me 'Patrick,' mind--I'm too old to be treated in that way.
He then bared his bosom for me to return the compliment, which being done, he seemed highly pleased.
Smouch to produce; for while Sam, anxious to return the compliment, was grinding that gentleman's body against the door-post, the principal crept past, and made his way to the bar, whither Sam, after bandying a few epithetical remarks with Mr.
When people who live in the country patronize public amusements, public amusements return the compliment by upsetting the family afterward for days together.
The two discoverers stare at the Smallweeds, who return the compliment.
When he gets tired of it I shall return the compliment and follow HIM.
THE victory parade gave the British people the opportunity to say thank you to our Olympians and Paralympians - and the athletes their chance to return the compliment.
Many Reds fans would love to return the compliment by helping press Hodgson's claims for another job which is way beyond him.
and as the Japanese girls were so complimentary about our performance against them, I would like to return the compliment by hoping they will win the final.
Something tells us Julia, right, would be less than likely to return the compliment
The trip enabled the Tees athletes to return the compliment after LC Rapid runners took part in New Marske Harriers "Mermaid 10km" earlier this year.
I will be more than pleased to return the compliment of writing, bearing in mind from which quarters it has come.
We thought we'd return the compliment with our own 'SNP - Scotland Not Playing' World Cup top.