return the favor

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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 ?
Self-destructive and self-loathing (because of her race), Camilla baits Bandini and he returns the favor.
Magic Hat returns the favor by donating a percentage of parade float entry fees, as well as funds raised by the sale of Mardi Gras masks, beads, and other necessities.
McCartney returns the favor later on, duetting with Slowhand on ``All Things Must Pass.
Sulla's second-in-command Pompey (Chris Noth) spares Caesar, who later returns the favor by helping elevate him to power in Rome.
Grammer returns the favor Sunday in a show without any reference to Dr.
Hendrix'' returns the favor by depicting his manager as a British twit and including a few vaguely comic scenes of addled artistic hubris.