pay (one) back

(redirected from pay someone back)

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 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

v.
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 ?
A ruralurban breakdown reveals that 76% of the respondents in urban areas and 70% in rural areas tend to feel wary towards owing money to anyone, be it banks, people or others, and would rather not be in a position where they have to pay someone back.
The concept should be to pay it forward, not to pay someone back.
However, nearly one-third of respondents reported that they never have enough cash on hand to pay someone back, a number that rose to 39 percent among 18 to 24 year olds.
Judge Andrew Hamilton told Batticks: "You said you did it to pay someone back for drugs, but nothing can justify your disgraceful and wicked conduct.
There was a Chinese guy who didn't pay someone back.
There will usually be a bus fare to remember, the dinner ticket and the money to pay someone back because we forgot the bus fare yesterday.