pay back

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pay (one) back

1. To make good on one's debt; to repay a loan. I don't mind you borrowing money from me, but please pay me back as soon as possible. If you don't pay back the bank, they could repossess your house!
2. To return someone's favor. Thank you so much for taking the kids while I was in the hospital! I don't know how I'll pay you back.
3. To get or seek revenge or retribution. The boss paid me back for my criticism by giving me the most tedious, mind-numbing assignments possible. The best way to pay back bullies from high school is to show them how successful you've become as an adult.
See also: back, pay

pay (something) back

To repay an amount of money that one borrowed. If you fail to pay your loan back in the minimum monthly instalments, the bank will start charging exorbitant fees!
See also: back, pay


Revenge or retribution. Many people believe the demotion was payback for his refusal to support the president's controversial tax overhaul. I could see him staggering over to us, drunk as a skunk and looking for payback.

pay someone back

1. . Lit. to return money that was borrowed from a person. You owe me money. When are you going to pay me back? You must pay John back. You have owed him money for a long time. You have to pay back everyone you owe money to.
2. Fig. to get even with someone [for doing something]. I will pay her back for what she said about me. Fred eventually will pay Mike back. He bears grudges for a long time. He intends to pay back everyone who has wronged him!
See also: back, pay

pay something back (to someone)

to repay someone. I paid the money back to Jerry. Can I pay back the money to George now? Please pay the money back now.
See also: back, pay

pay back

1. Repay a debt or a loan, as in I'll pay you back next month.
2. Also, pay back in someone's own coin. Revenge oneself, repay in kind, as in He thought he could get away with copying my plans, but I'll pay him back in his own coin . This expression refers to repaying a debt in exactly the same currency in which the money had been lent. [c. 1600]
See also: back, pay

pay back

1. To return some amount of money that has been borrowed: Will you pay back the $60 I gave you last month? They finally paid the money back.
2. To repay someone an amount of money: I might not have enough money to pay them back. We need to pay back the bank.
3. To reward or punish someone for something: After all their hard work, the team was paid back with a victory. After they beat us, we paid them back by winning the series.
See also: back, pay
References in periodicals archive ?
Both men were given 28 days to pay back the PS1, or face another week in prison.
Mr Edwards goes one step further and states that Mr James should be "instructed" to pay back the money.
And after hearing the case, the judge issued a ruling telling the man to pay back the money he had borrowed.
At a proceeds of crime hearing last Thursday, Cook was ordered to pay back PS53,504.
Under the proceeds of crime order at Warrington crown court, Cullen, of Dallam Gardens, Warrington, must pay back PS29,762; O''Malley, 24, of Festival Avenue, Warrington, must repay PS10,033; Blackmore, 34, of Gaskell Avenue, Warrington, must hand over PS34,316 and Ellison, 25, of Bowman Avenue, Warrington, must give back PS1,229.
Confiscation hearings are held to work out how much criminals have earned through their wrongdoing - officially known as the "benefit amount assessed" - and a judge then makes the POCA order and decides how the criminal must pay back.
But the Peterborough-based bank's president says it wants to pay back its loan so it can complete its merger with GFA Federal Credit Union, but it can't because the federal government has told the bank to keep its money, for now.
Unlike bankruptcy, the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS), which allows you to pay back creditors at a rate that suits you over a reasonable time, is not likely to have a bearing on your employability now or in the future.
Commenting on a claim that a loophole in the expenses regime had allowed some MPs to pay back less, the Taxpayers Alliance spokeswoman Charlotte Lindacre said: "It's a disgrace that loopholes in the system had let some MPs off the hook.
Under the loan system, graduates pay back the debt in monthly instalments docked from their salary.
Under the system, graduates pay back the debt in monthly instalments docked from their salary.
Nakheel, a property developer unit of the troubled Dubai World conglomerate, has received financial assistance from the Dubai Financial Support Fund (DFSF) to pay back an Islamic bond due to mature on May 13.
6 percent in February, when compared to the previous month, and has reached 69,200 while the number of Turks who could not pay back their personal loans increased by 15.
Thanks to stimulus funds, the town will have to pay back only $1.
SEETHING MPs are furious that they have to pay back the money they have taken off the taxpayer for their own greed.