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owe it to (someone/oneself) to do something
To have an obligation or duty to do something for the sake of someone or oneself. We owe it to our parents to look after them as they get older. You need to stop worrying about work; you owe it to yourself to enjoy the weekends with your family.
pound of flesh
A debt or punishment, especially one that is cruel or unreasonable, 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 fleshed promised as collateral for a loan. The victim of the incident, while only sustaining superficial injuries, is demanding his pound of flesh from the night club owner following the court ruling. Be very careful about taking out loans that you can't repay right away, or you will have loan sharks coming after you for a pound of flesh.
I owe you one.
Inf. Thank you, now I owe you a favor.; I owe you something similar in return. Bob: I put the extra copy of the book on your desk. Sue: Thanks, I owe you one. Bill: Let me pay for your drink. Bob: Thanks a lot, I owe you one.
owe someone a debt of gratitude
a large amount of thanks owed to someone who deserves gratitude. (Actually payment of the debt is owed.) We owe you a debt of gratitude for all you have done for us.
owe something (to someone) (for something)
to be under obligation to pay or repay someone for something. I owe forty dollars to Ann for the dinner. I owe money for the gift to Ann. I still owe money for the gift. Do you still owe money to Ann?
*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.
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]
think something/someone owes you a living
If someone thinks someone or something owes them a living, they think that person or thing should give them the money they need to live. Nobody owes you a living — you need to work hard for yourself. He was given everything, and grew up thinking the world owes him a living.
owe someone oneINFORMAL
If you owe someone one, you feel very grateful to them for something they have done for you. `I've got the engine going again.' `Thanks, mate — I owe you one!'
owe someone onefeel indebted to someone. informal
1990 Paul Auster The Music of Chance ‘I guess I owe you one,’ Floyd said, patting Nashe's back in an awkward show of gratitude.
someone or something owes you a livingused to express disapproval of someone who expects to receive financial support or other benefits without doing any work.
(think) the world ˌowes you a ˈliving(disapproving) (think that) society is responsible for doing everything for you and you should not have to make any effort yourself: Why don’t you go out and get a job? The world doesn’t owe you a living, you know.
1. To be in debt by some amount to someone: I owe $100 to my brother.
2. To have something because of something or someone else: The family owed its wealth to oil. I owe my rosy complexion to my mother.
See also: owe