pay debt

pay (one's) debt

1. To repay some or all of the money one owes to someone else. A noun or pronoun can be used between "(one's) and "debt" to specify the type of debt one has accrued. I only won about $5,000 in the lottery, but it was enough to pay my credit card debt. I'm gonna be paying my student loan debt for nearly 20 years.
2. To serve the sentence given to one upon conviction of a crime. Often followed by "to society." In the eyes of the law, he has paid his debt to society, so he shouldn't be facing any further punishment for his past crimes. I spent nearly 15 years in prison—I paid my debt!
See also: debt, pay
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

pay one's debt (to society)

Cliché to serve a sentence for a crime, usually in prison. The judge said that Mr. Simpson had to pay his debt to society. Mr. Brown paid his debt in state prison.
See also: debt, pay
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in classic literature ?
I do not think this general insolvency, which involves in some sort all the population, to be the reason of the difficulty experienced at Christmas and New Year and other times, in bestowing gifts; since it is always so pleasant to be generous, though very vexatious to pay debts. But the impediment lies in the choosing.
But why did the clerks at the bank let him have them--they ought to have known that you had all this money to pay, and people cannot well pay debts without money."
SMC plans to offer local bonds to pay debt !-- -- ( - August 22, 2019 - 2:01pm MANILA, Philippines San Miguel Corp.
'The government will pay debt of Rs3,000 billion this year and will collect revenue of Rs5,500 billion.
The special revenue bonds are backed by the city's covenant to budget and appropriate non-ad valorem (NAV) revenues sufficient to pay debt service.
The money from the sale will be used to pay debt. Bill Blackham, Condors chief executive officer, noted that of the 55 legacy hotels that the company owned at the start of 2015, only four remain, and that the company had a goal of selling two of those in the first half of 201.
The loan is needed to pay debt due in July, but talks continue and the IMF has not yet decided whether to join the bailout.
M2 EQUITYBITES-May 8, 2015-CIBC poll reports Canadians use tax refunds to pay debt
BANKING AND CREDIT NEWS-May 8, 2015-CIBC poll reports Canadians use tax refunds to pay debt
The insurance helps customers pay debt if they are unable to work and earn an income.
It would appear that he, like so many in Bahrain, is trying to sort out his financial predicament but because of the absolute lunacy of the judicial system, can't pay debt, declared illegal, banned from travelling, and can't get a job to clear his debt.
A person familiar with Dubai World told Bloomberg last month that Nakheel needs cash to pay debt maturing this year.
The unidentified firm would make a "substantial" investment that would result in "very significant dilution" to current shareholders, San Juan-based Doral said, adding it doesn't have enough money to pay debt due this year, including a US$625 million bond maturing in July.
Debt payment behavior, as a dependent variable, has three categories--"pay debt on time," "pay debt late but no later than two months," and "pay debt late for two or more months." Debt amount and debt types (mortgage loan, credit card balance, and installment loan) are used as independent variables.