pay (one's) debt

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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 ?
'My gentle Peter, pay your debts! What matter if it swallows all That you describe as your "assets"?
What's the good of being in Parliament, he said, if you must pay your debts? Hence, indeed, his position as a senator was not a little useful to him.
You bring me a writing from Bulstrode to say he doesn't believe you've ever promised to pay your debts out o' my land.
You bring me a letter from Bulstrode saying he doesn't believe you've been cracking and promising to pay your debts out o' my land, and then, if there's any scrape you've got into, we'll see if I can't back you a bit.
Some plans, such as debt management plans, may see you pay your debt paid back over a certain period of time.
In this case, it would be advisable to pay your debt first and invest later.
If your debt is P10,000 and you are earning much more than that, you have the room to pay your debt and invest at the same time (provided you already have an emergency fund).
Moving on to your question, so should you pay your debts first before you invest?
However, your best bet is to make arrangements to pay your debt and avoid further damage to your credit.
For those struggling with or ignoring this type of debt, Gall Cunningham, a vice president of Business Relations with the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas (www.cccs.net), has this warning: "If you are living on the financial edge, any hiccup that comes along is likely to push you over to where you cannot pay your debt. As people get deeper into debt, creditors will use whatever means at their disposal to collect." Therefore, communicate with your creditors to resolve old debts as soon as possible and always read the fine print.