tit for tat


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tit for tat

Describing an act of retaliation. The phrase is most likely an alteration of the Dutch phrase "tip for tap," which means "blow for blow." She's mad at me, so she refuses to help me plan this event—typical tit for tat.
See also: tat, tit

tit for tat

Repayment in kind, retaliation, as in If he won't help with the beach clean-up, I won't run a booth at the bake sale; that's tit for tat . This term is believed to be a corruption of tip for tap, which meant "a blow for a blow." Its current form dates from the mid-1500s.
See also: tat, tit

tit for tat

Tit for tat is something that someone does to upset or harm someone who has upset or harmed them. In an apparent tit for tat, he announced he was sacking the members of two committees responsible for reactor safety. Note: Tit for tat is also used before nouns. A tit for tat dispute has led to the virtual closure of the border between the two countries.
See also: tat, tit

tit for tat

a situation in which an injury or insult is given in return or retaliation.
See also: tat, tit

ˌtit for ˈtat

a situation in which you do something unpleasant to somebody because they have done something unpleasant to you: He hit me, so I hit him back — it was tit for tat.the routine tit for tat when countries expel each other’s envoys
See also: tat, tit

tit for tat

Payment in kind; precise retaliation. Most authorities believe this expression was a corruption of tip for tap, meaning “a blow for a blow.” It was already in its current form in the sixteenth century. John Heywood’s Proverbs (1546) stated, “Sens tyt for tat (quoth I) on euen hand is set, Set the hares head against the goose ieblet,” and in his Spider and Flie (1556), “That is tit for tat in this altricacion.”
See also: tat, tit
References in periodicals archive ?
Tit for tat never earns short-run gains by exploiting those willing to cooperate, but its refusal to do further business with defectors means it cannot be exploited too severely either.
When asked of Gazza's behaviour earlier Knox had sighed: "It was tit for tat with the keeper.