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the devil to pay See PUNISHMENT.
domino theory The belief that if one of a cluster of small, neighboring countries is taken over by communism or some other political system the others will soon follow suit; the phenomenon of political chain reaction. This theory takes its name from the chain-reaction effect created when one in a line of standing dominoes topples, bringing the rest down, one after the other. The concept arose during the 1950s and was popular during the 60s as the expression most representative of the basis for American involvement in Southeast Asia at that time.
he that lieth with dogs riseth with fleas A person is known by the company he keeps; associate with riffraff and you’ll soon be one of them. This well-known proverb appeared as early as 1640 in George Herbert’s Jacula Prudentum.
pay the piper To bear the consequences of one’s actions or decisions; to pay the cost of some undertaking; to foot the bill. This expression probably alludes to the 13th-century legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin in which the piper, upon being refused the payment promised for ridding the town of rats, played his pipe again; this time, however, it was the children who were led out of town to their deaths. Thus, the residents suffered the consequences of their decision, having “paid the piper” with their children’s lives. One source suggests that the derivation may be more literal, that is, it was customary to pay a piper or other street musician for the entertainment he supplied.
After all this dance he has led the nation, he must at last come to pay the piper himself. (Thomas Flatman, Heraclitis Ridens, 1681)
A common variation is pay the fiddler.
sow the wind and reap the whirlwind A proverb implying that if a person acts in a self-indulgent, hedonistic, or dissolute manner, he will have to suffer the calamitous consequences. This adage is Biblical in origin, appearing in Hosea 8:7 as a warning to the Israelites to emend their iniquitous ways. Sow the wind implies senseless or unproductive activity, while whirlwind alludes to a violent and destructive force, the fate of one who “sows the wind.”
stew in one’s own juice To suffer the unhappy consequences of one’s own unfortunate actions, to reap what one has sown; also to fry in one’s own grease. According to the OED, to fry in one’s own grease dates from the 14th century when it was applied to persons burned at the stake. The phrase appeared in the prologue to The Wife of Bath’s Tale by Chaucer:
In his own grease I made him fry, For anger, and for very jealousy.
To stew in one’s own juice, although the most popular form of the expression today, did not appear until approximately 300 years later. The equivalent French phrase is cuire dans son jus ‘to cook in one’s juice.’