pay a compliment

pay a compliment

Express praise or commendation to someone, as in Meredith wanted to pay Christopher a compliment so she told him she liked his new haircut . This expression uses pay in the sense of "give something that is due." [c. 1700]
See also: compliment, pay
References in classic literature ?
He had endeavored to pay a compliment with a lie, and the prompt repudiation of the lie served only to increase his hero-worship.
He said this to pay a compliment to the son of Peleus, and Achilles answered, "Antilochus, you shall not have praised me to no purpose; I shall give you an additional half talent of gold.