rob Peter to pay Paul, to

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rob Peter to pay Paul

To borrow or take money from one person or source to fund or repay the debt of another. Mr. Hardy's law firm has fallen into arrears of late, and he's been robbing Peter to pay Paul just to keep the business afloat. Never use a credit card to pay a debt—that's just robbing Peter to pay Paul!
See also: Paul, pay, peter, rob
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

rob Peter to pay Paul

Fig. to take or borrow from one in order to give or pay something owed to another. Why borrow money to pay your bills? That's just robbing Peter to pay Paul. There's no point in robbing Peter to pay Paul. You will still be in debt.
See also: Paul, pay, peter, rob
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

rob Peter to pay Paul

Take from one to give to another, shift resources. For example, They took out a second mortgage on their house so they could buy a condo in Florida-they're robbing Peter to pay Paul . Although legend has it that this expression alludes to appropriating the estates of St. Peter's Church, in Westminster, London, to pay for the repairs of St. Paul's Cathedral in the 1800s, the saying first appeared in a work by John Wycliffe about 1382.
See also: Paul, pay, peter, rob
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

rob Peter to pay Paul

take something away from one person to pay another, leaving the former at a disadvantage; discharge one debt only to incur another.
This expression probably arose in reference to the saints and apostles Peter and Paul , who are often shown together as equals in Christian art and who therefore may be presumed to be equally deserving of honour and devotion. It is uncertain whether a specific allusion is intended; variants of the phrase include unclothe Peter and clothe Paul and borrow from Peter to pay Paul .
1997 New Scientist So far, NASA has been able to rob Peter to pay Paul, taking money from the shuttle and science programmes to keep the ISS on track.
See also: Paul, pay, peter, rob
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

rob ˌPeter to pay ˈPaul

(saying) take money from one area and spend it in another: Government spending on education has not increased. Some areas have improved, but only as a result of robbing Peter to pay Paul.
See also: Paul, pay, peter, rob
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

rob Peter to pay Paul

To incur a debt in order to pay off another debt.
See also: Paul, pay, peter, rob
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

rob Peter to pay Paul, to

To take funds from one source in order to pay another; to shift a debt. According to legend, the abbey church of St. Peter’s, in Westminster, was made into a cathedral in 1540, but ten years later it was joined to the diocese of London and many of its estates were appropriated to pay for the repairs of St. Paul’s Cathedral; hence St. Peter was “robbed” for the sake of St. Paul. Appealing as this source for the cliché may be, the expression actually was first used by John Wycliffe about 1340, when he wrote, “How should God approve that you rob Peter and give this robbery to Paul in the name of Christ?” In the mid-1950s George J. Hecht, founder and publisher of Parents Magazine, went to Washington to lobby—in the morning for lower postal rates for magazine publishers, and in the afternoon for larger appropriations to the Children’s Bureau, whereupon he was accused of trying to rob both Peter and Paul.
See also: pay, peter, rob
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer

rob Peter to pay Paul

Use funds from one source to repay a debt. If you use one credit card to pay off another, even if you're benefiting by buying time, you're robbing Peter to pay Paul. How the phrase came to be associated with what would seem to be the two apostles is a mystery, since neither was associated with precarious financial planning.
See also: Paul, pay, peter, rob
Endangered Phrases by Steven D. Price Copyright © 2011 by Steven D. Price
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References in periodicals archive ?
They won't be able to afford to stay in a hotel and will have to rob Peter to pay Paul to get a ticket.
'We cannot continue to rob Peter to pay Paul. The government should take care of the areas where the oil is coming from.
He said he noted while he may have got into financial difficulties and was "trying to rob Peter to pay Paul".
He isn't sure what happened to cause Smiley's financial world to fall apart but wonders if it was a simple case of living beyond his means, which eventually led his friend to rob Peter to pay Paul.
A second, of Hinckley, Leics, said: "No one wants to live on credit but the reality is you often have to rob Peter to pay Paul.
Someone once said that if you propose to rob Peter to pay Paul the masses will always vote for Paul and the trade unions are capitalising on this theory.
If the Government is going to rob Peter to pay Paul, and give the money to middle-income earners, it sounds like an electoral bribe
You found it easier to rob Peter to pay Paul than to tell your clients the truth about your dealings.
That Democrats are now having to rob Peter to pay Paul is yet one more example of how past under-investment in political capacity is hurting the party this year.
While education funding is a perennial headache for the nation's LEAs, to rob Peter to pay Paul is no way to run a local authority, particularly when Peter represents some of the most needy and vulnerable in our society.
JS: I guess one would have to be truthful and say that if you are going to do a job in two areas you're going to have to rob Peter to pay Paul. But I never have felt, or it has never been brought to my attention, that somehow the job has suffered.
Scully's plan is to rob Peter to pay Paul and by releasing so many fringe players is hoping to bring in six new faces for next season.
But Zuckoff argues that Ponzi thought he'd only have to rob Peter to pay Paul in the short term, and that eventually he'd figure out a way to make good on his wild promises.
Unfortunately, this is going to leave many authorities in a position where they are going to have to rob Peter to pay Paul. Hence, in order for central Government to be seen to be doing something about the crisis within our education system, other areas are going to have to experience cuts.