pay (one) a compliment

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pay (one) a compliment

To compliment one; to give one a piece of praise. It took me a little while to realize that he was paying me a compliment. It isn't often she pays her employees compliments, so you should really feel proud.
See also: compliment, pay
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

pay someone compliment

Fig. to give someone a compliment. Tom paid Bill a compliment when he told him he was intelligent. Mary was very gracious when Anne paid her a compliment.
See also: compliment, pay
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

pay a compliment

Express praise or commendation to someone, as in Meredith wanted to pay Christopher a compliment so she told him she liked his new haircut . This expression uses pay in the sense of "give something that is due." [c. 1700]
See also: compliment, pay
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The New Guard that assumes charge pays compliments and the balance of the New Guard marches off along with band playing "Amar Jawan" (Immortal Soldier).
The Home Secretary rises, and in turn pays compliments to Lord Hurd, and to the Prison Reform Trust - the quality of their staff; their briefing materials; their ability to create, rather than simply respond to the prison's agenda, etc - and then the scr upulous ritual of the formalities, and etiquette of public speaking ends, and the Home Secretary begins his lecture, entitled Making Prisons Work.