pound of flesh

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pound of flesh

A debt or punishment, especially one that is cruel or unreasonable, that is harshly insisted upon. An allusion to Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, in which the moneylender Shylock demands he be paid the pound of fleshed promised as collateral for a loan. The victim of the incident, while only sustaining superficial injuries, is demanding his pound of flesh from the night club owner following the court ruling. Be very careful about taking out loans that you can't repay right away, or you will have loan sharks coming after you for a pound of flesh.
See also: flesh, of, pound

*pound of flesh

Fig. a payment or punishment that involves suffering and sacrifice on the part of the person being punished. (*Typically: give someone ~; owe someone ~; pay someone ~; take ~.) He wants revenge. He won't be satisfied until he takes his pound of flesh.
See also: flesh, of, pound

pound of flesh

A debt whose payment is harshly insisted on, as in The other members of the cartel all want their pound of flesh from Brazil. This expression alludes to the scene in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice (4:1) where the moneylender Shylock demands the pound of flesh promised him in payment for a loan, and Portia responds that he may have it but without an ounce of blood (since blood was not promised). [c. 1600]
See also: flesh, of, pound
References in periodicals archive ?
The fact is that the modern day Shylocks of this world, Western banks, multinational institutions and governments have become equally immune to all the pleadings of all the Portias -- and they have been hacking our well over and beyond their pounds of flesh from the bleeding body of Africa.
They are appealing directly to the public, the tax-payers whose money has been used to reap this harvest of broken bodies and shattered dreams, to shame the G-8 into relinquishing their unsated appetite for African pounds of flesh.
The fact is that the modern day Shylocks of this world, Western banks, multinational institutions and governments have become equally immune to all the pleadings of all the Portias - and they have been hacking out well over and beyond their pounds of flesh from the bleeding body of Africa.