pay (one's) debt

(redirected from pay his 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

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
References in classic literature ?
His father said he wouldn't give him any and pay his debts. His tailor was trying to get him locked up, and another fellow, too, was threatening to get him locked up.
"Three days hence Sir Richard must pay his debts to Emmet; until that time thou must be content to abide with me lest thou breed trouble for the Knight.
Let him pay his debts and come out, come out; pay his debts, and come out.'
If a man gives way to his temper, and speaks evil of his neighbor, and does not pay his debts, he is not religious, I don't care how much he goes to church.
The next day the merchant began to settle his affairs, and first of all to pay his debts. He gave presents to his friends, and large alms to the poor.
Four Chinese nationals were apprehended after kidnapping their compatriot who failed to pay his debt inside a casino resort in Pasay City on Thursday night, police said Friday.
Initial investigation showed the victim Samuel Chang, 26, was illegally detained by the four suspects after failing to pay his debt worth P300,000.
The proprietor takes the note and runs to pay his debt to the butcher.
The butcher takes it and runs to pay his debt to the pig grower.
The Philippine National Police - Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) rescued a Chinese national who was allegedly abducted by fellow Chinese men after failing to pay his debt.
The butcher takes the note, and runs to pay his debt to the pig grower.
The pig grower takes it, and runs to pay his debt to the supplier of his feed and fuel.
But in Neal Jordan's romantic tale of an aging (and unlucky) gambler who does one last heist, Bob (Nick Nolte) is more of a "nice" thief who hopes to pay his debts and help a few friends.