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owe it to (someone or 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.
See also: owe

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

owe (one) one

To be indebted to someone for something they did. Thanks for not ratting me out to the boss about being late this morning—I owe you one!
See also: one, owe

think the world owes (one) a living

To believe that one is entitled to financial wellbeing or a comfortable life without having to work for it. Our parents worked every day of their lives to give us a better, more comfortable life, so it isn't a complete surprise that kids of my generation grew up thinking the world owes them a living.
See also: living, owe, think, world

owe (something) to (someone or something)

1. To be obliged to give or pay something back to someone or something else. I owe a new bike to David because I got his run over by a street cleaner. We owe about $1,500 to the bank for the loan we used to pay for our wedding.
2. To attribute one's possession or acquisition of something to someone or something else. I truly owe my happiness to you—I love you so much. The country owes its wealth and global influence to the vast mineral reserves buried in its hills.
See also: owe

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.
See also: one, owe

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.
See also: debt, of, owe

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.
See also: flesh, of, pound

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

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 one

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!'
See also: one, owe, someone

owe someone one

feel 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.
See also: one, owe, someone

someone or something owes you a living

used 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.
See also: living, owe, world

owe to

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Spanton, 43, was first convicted in 2002 when his firm Great Portland Entertainments went bust owing PS2.
He was banned from company directorships and made bankrupt but went on to run London Ticket Brokerage until it was shut down in 2009 owing PS372,000, and Ticket Index, which went bust in 2011 owing PS3.
TORONTO -- Company will continue to pursue collection of balance owing by year end
The payment was the balance of the instalment of US$850,000 that was due July 30, 2004 under the agreement with GSRGC to accept US$2,560,000 (approximately Cdn$3,310,000) in full settlement of the balance owing from the sale of the Company's interest in the Guilin Tire Company, with such amount to be paid by December 31, 2004.
The commercial condomominum lot at 150 West 56th Street at Citispire was at one point the city's top delinquent owing nearly $11 million of the coffers.
For instance, one of the commercial condominium lots at 150 West 56 Street, owned by Bruce Eichner, was at one point the city's top delinquent owing nearly $11 million to the coffers.
An insurer rated 'R' is under regulatory supervision owing to its financial condition," explained Standard & Poor's credit analyst Neilay Mehta.
ARC International Corporation (AMEX:ATV) announced that three of its wholly-owned subsidiaries have received demands for repayment from their lenders of amounts owing under credit facilities.
Repayment of the balance owing on an original $250,000 loan (15.