pound of flesh

(redirected from his pound of flesh)

pound of flesh

A debt or punishment, especially a cruel or unreasonable one, that is harshly insisted upon. An allusion to Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, in which the moneylender Shylock demands he be paid the pound of flesh promised as collateral for a loan. The victim of the incident, while only sustaining superficial injuries, is demanding his pound of flesh from the nightclub owner following the court ruling. Be very careful about taking out loans that you can't repay right away, or you will have collectors coming after you for a pound of flesh.
See also: flesh, of, pound
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*pound of flesh

Fig. a payment or punishment that involves suffering and sacrifice on the part of the person being punished. (*Typically: give someone ~; owe someone ~; pay someone ~; take ~.) He wants revenge. He won't be satisfied until he takes his pound of flesh.
See also: flesh, of, pound
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

pound of flesh

A debt whose payment is harshly insisted on, as in The other members of the cartel all want their pound of flesh from Brazil. This expression alludes to the scene in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice (4:1) where the moneylender Shylock demands the pound of flesh promised him in payment for a loan, and Portia responds that he may have it but without an ounce of blood (since blood was not promised). [c. 1600]
See also: flesh, of, pound
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.

your pound of flesh

If someone demands their pound of flesh, they insist on getting something they have a right to, even though they might not need it and it will cause problems for the people they are getting it from. Banks are quick to demand their pound of flesh from the small businessman who goes even slightly into debt. She has appeared on breakfast television to offer support (in exchange for heaven knows what pound of flesh from her husband). Note: This expression comes from Shakespeare's play `The Merchant of Venice' (Act 4, Scene 1). Shylock is owed money by Antonio, and attempts to carry out an agreement which allows him to cut off a pound of Antonio's flesh.
See also: flesh, of, pound
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

your pound of flesh

an amount you are legally entitled to, but which it is morally offensive to demand.
The allusion here is to Shylock's bond with the merchant Antonio in Shakespeare 's The Merchant of Venice and to the former's insistence that he should receive it, even at the cost of Antonio's life.
See also: flesh, of, pound
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

(have, demand, claim, etc.) your pound of ˈflesh

(take, demand, etc.) the full amount that somebody owes you, even if this will cause them trouble or suffering: They want their pound of flesh; they want every penny we owe them by next Monday.I didn’t realize working here was going to be such hard work. They really demand their pound of flesh, don’t they?This phrase comes from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, in which the moneylender Shylock demanded a pound of flesh from Antonio’s body if he could not pay back the money he borrowed.
See also: flesh, of, pound
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

pound of flesh, a

One’s exact dues; the precise amount owed, no matter what. The term comes from the famous trial scene of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (4.1), in which the moneylender Shylock demands that the pound of flesh that was promised him in payment for lending Antonio money be handed over. He is, of course, foiled by Portia, who says he may have his pound of flesh but it may not include an ounce of blood (since no blood is due him). Ever since, this expression has been used as a metaphor for exacting payment, usually in a vengeful way.
See also: of, pound
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
"Over the top, my boys, Look lively for you're in the fight, The King, he wants his pound of flesh, And till it's his, won't sleep tonight."
But Flintshire-born actor Jonathan Pryce is to return to the stage to claim his pound of flesh, with Shakespeare's Globe announcing that the star is to play Shylock in a forthcoming production of The Merchant of Venice.
What a kick in the teeth to find that if they don't buy before late March, George Osborne takes his pound of flesh too."
Not only does the court deny him his pound of flesh, he also cannot recover the money he loaned to Antonio.
It leaves you squirming in your seat at the sheer injustice and makes Shylock's heartfelt demand for his pound of flesh all too easy to understand.
Now that it is out in the open every gobs***e in the game will be looking for his pound of flesh and the one who doesn't get it will be wondering how much the guy beside him is on.
'No wonder we look up to the Lisbon Lions, they were real Celtic legends Chic Donaldson, Falkirk, said: 'McNamara is a Shylock, taking his pound of flesh from the Celtic fans and then signing for somebody else.
IT'S that time of year when those dreaded tax forms can no longer be shoved to the back of the drawer and that nice Mr Taxman is after his pound of flesh. Sharon has got all the tax allowances going and that always gives us a bit of wedge to invest on races like today's Ayr Gold Cup.
And his stepdad Darren (Webster) is determined to get his pound of flesh.
Frankie says: "I do loads of work of work at David's - he certainly gets his pound of flesh.
Faldo had his pound of flesh this week when James was forced to stand down as Sam Torrance's Ryder Cup vice-captain.
In William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, the money-lender Shylock insists on obtaining his pound of flesh when the hero Antonio fails to repay the bond he had pledged to him.
"Shell officials said that Ken Saro-Wiwa had `extracted his pound of flesh,' " Reed says, adding that Shell officials told him Saro-Wiwa had received consulting contracts and fees from the company.
Unable to collect on his loan, Shylock attempts to claim his pound of flesh. Portia disguises herself as a man to defend Antonio in court.