piper


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Related to piper: pied piper

call the tune

To dictate how a situation or agenda proceeds, as from a position of authority. The phrase is a shortened version of "Who pays the piper calls the tune," which means that the person who pays for something assumes control over it. My staff has to do what I say because I'm the boss, and I call the tune here! Mom calls the tune for Thanksgiving dinner, so you better get her approval for any dish you want to bring.
See also: call, tune

pay the piper

To face, accept, or suffer repercussions for one's actions or words, especially that would be expected to incur punishment. (A less common version of "pay the fiddler.") After three nights of heavy drinking, I'm really going to be paying the piper come Monday morning! With the judge handing down the maximum possible sentence, this monster will be paying the piper for the rest of his life.
See also: pay, piper

he who pays the piper calls the tune

The person who pays for something will or should dictate how something should be done. At the end of the day, though, their company is paying for the study, and he who pays the piper calls the tune.
See also: call, he, pay, piper, tune, who

He who pays the piper calls the tune.

Prov. If you are paying for someone's services, you can dictate exactly what you want that person to do. When Mrs. Dalton told the artist what she wanted her portrait to look like, the artist cringed to think that anyone could have such bad taste. Still, he who pays the piper calls the tune, and Mrs. Dalton got what she wanted.
See also: call, he, pay, piper, tune, who

pay the piper

Fig. to face the results of one's actions; to receive punishment for something. You can put off paying your debts only so long. Eventually you'll have to pay the piper. You can't get away with that forever. You'll have to pay the piper someday.
See also: pay, piper

call the tune

Make important decisions, exercise authority, as in Nancy said that it's her turn to call the tune. The full term is Who pays the piper calls the tune, meaning whoever bears the cost of an enterprise should have authority over it. [Late 1800s] Also see the synonym call the shots.
See also: call, tune

pay the piper

see under call the tune.
See also: pay, piper

he who pays the piper calls the tune

People say he who pays the piper calls the tune to mean that the person who pays for something has the right to decide what it will be like. He who pays the piper calls the tune. It's important our customers have a real say on the balance between demands for improved services and increasing charges. Note: People often vary this expression. If these countries are to pay the piper, they will expect at least some say in his choice of tune. They had a strong tendency to call the tune without paying the piper. Compare with call the tune. Note: This may come from the custom, dating back to the 17th century, of hiring travelling musicians to play at festivals and weddings. The people who paid for the music were able to choose the tunes they wanted to hear.
See also: call, he, pay, piper, tune, who

call the tune

COMMON If someone calls the tune, they are in control of a situation and make all the important decisions. If managers tried to get players to come back in the afternoon they'd have a riot on their hands. The players call the tune these days. Whether you're talking plant-breeding or choice of seed, supermarkets call the tune. Note: This expression comes from the proverb `he who pays the piper calls the tune'.
See also: call, tune

pay the piper

pay the cost of an enterprise. informal
This expression comes from the proverb he who pays the piper calls the tune , and is used with the implication that the person who has paid expects to be in control of whatever happens.
See also: pay, piper

he who pays the ˌpiper calls the ˈtune

(saying) the person who provides the money for something has the right to say how it should be spent; the person with power makes the decisions: The Rockefeller Foundation helps the project financially, and they have the right to say ‘no’ to any part of it. He who pays the piper...
A piper is a musician who plays a pipe or the bagpipes. The person who hires them can choose what songs they play.
See also: call, he, pay, piper, tune, who

pay the piper

To bear the consequences of something.
See also: pay, piper

pay the piper

Be forced to acknowledge and accept an unpleasant consequence of your action. The full expression is “Who pays the piper calls the tune,” which is to say that money calls the shots (“Money makes the mare go” is the same idea). But although a request can be melodious, the phrase came to have an unpleasant connotation, as if the music that the piper produced was not what was anticipated. For example, you tell your supervisor and your colleagues that you can undertake and finish an important assignment in two days, but you can't. As your supervisor takes you to task, you silently admit that you bit off more than you could chew—you're paying the piper.
See also: pay, piper
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