return the favor


Also found in: Acronyms.

return the favor

To reciprocate one's actions. You helped me last week, so I'll return the favor and do your filing. If Tiffany's the one who started that rumor about me, I'll just return the favor with a rumor about her.
See also: favor, return

return the favor

to do a good deed for someone who has done a good deed for you. You helped me last week, so I'll return the favor and help you this week. There is no point in helping Bill He'll never return the favor.
See also: favor, return
References in periodicals archive ?
Now, it's Florida's turn to return the favor and host a legal symposium.
"There are a lot of things I want to do that I don't know how to do, but someone else does--so you call them up, they help you, maybe you can return the favor some day.
The Southerners were touched by the gesture from their former adversaries and promised to return the favor should similar misfortune ever strike New York.
No matter what happens, we can't forget what he has done for us." And Clinton can only hope that Frank and other gay and lesbian leaders will return the favor.
Don Turnipseed of Turnipseed Music was kind enough to send this along, even though it is not on his label, and I will return the favor by suggesting that if you cannot find this CD in your local record store, you might want to try Don's website at www.turnipseed.com, where you can also find all kinds of links to Louisiana music and culture.
A chimpanzee doesn't spread nasty rumors or call a lawyer if it grooms the hair of friend who then refuses to return the favor by forking over a few bananas at mealtime.
If you return the favor somehow, someday, it's not using; it's what we all need--help from each other.
Unrelated comrades may receive help only in the expectation that they will later return the favor.