give the devil his/her due

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give the devil his/her due

To acknowledge the good in someone who is otherwise regarded unfavorably. That guy annoys me, but he is a hard worker—I have to give the devil his due.
See also: devil, due, give
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

give the devil his due

 and give the devil her due
Fig. to give your foe proper credit (for something). (This usually refers to a person who has been evil-like the devil.) She's very messy in the kitchen, but I have to give the devil her due. She bakes a terrific cherry pie. John is a bit too nosy, but he keeps his yard clean and is a kind neighbor. I'll give the devil his due.
See also: devil, due, give
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

give the devil his due

Give credit to what is good in a disagreeable or disliked person. For example, I don't like John's views on education, but give the devil his due, he always has something important to say , or I don't like what the new management has done, but give the devil his due, sales have improved . [Late 1500s]
See also: devil, due, give
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

give the devil his due

if someone or something generally considered bad or undeserving has any redeeming features these should be acknowledged. proverb
See also: devil, due, give
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

give the devil his due

To give credit to a disagreeable or malevolent person.
See also: devil, due, give
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

give the devil his due

Even the bad may deserve some credit. This expression dates from the sixteenth century and was in print by 1589, in Pappe with an Hatchet, possibly by John Lyly (“Giue them their due though they were diuels”). Shakespeare used it in several plays, as did John Fletcher, John Dryden, and others. It was a cliché by the time Mark Twain wrote “We must give even Satan his due” (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, 1889).
See also: devil, due, give
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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