pay (one) back

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pay (one) back

1. To repay one. 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 one'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 on one. 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 classic literature ?
I'll pay you back, Gertrude, a hundred times over," he gulped out, his throat painfully contracted and in his eyes a swift hint of moisture.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.
Let him get a job (and he has had several good job offers which would enable him to pay you back in just a few months) Give this guy a chance to pay you back
It's heartbreaking when somebody doesn't pay you back, not because of the money, but because you feel they've broken your trust.
It's heartbreaking when somebody doesn't pay you back as you feel like they've broken your trust and have effectively stolen from you.
He's taking his frustration out sometimes on his teammates, and he doesn't understand those things come back and they pay you back double sometimes.
By answering just a few questions, several investments might be identified that could pay you back with significant savings.
The safety and operational benefits and the positive bottom-line impact ABS can have on fleet operations has made ABS a system that can pay you back.
Tell her that's the present and if she doesn't pay you back within three months, you'll take her to the Small Claims Court.
If she doesn't pay you back, then you need to decide whether she's a good enough friend for you to write off the money and put it behind you.
She should be desperate to pay you back, instead of spending her money on haircuts.
Tell your daughter if she doesn't pay you back - installments will be fine - you will inform this man's wife what's going on and tell social services she neglects her children.