pay the piper
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v. paid (pād), pay·ing, pays
1. To give money to in return for goods or services rendered: pay the cashier.
2. To give (money) in exchange for goods or services: paid four dollars for a hamburger; paid an hourly wage.
3. To discharge or settle (a debt or obligation): paying taxes; paid the bill.
4. To bear (a cost or penalty, for example) in recompense: She paid the price for her unpopular opinions.
5. To yield as a return: a savings plan that paid six percent interest.
6. To afford an advantage to; profit: It paid us to be generous.
7. To give or bestow: paying compliments; paying attention.
8. To make (a visit or call).
9. Past tense and past participle paid or payed (pād) To let out (a line or cable) by slackening.
1. To give money in exchange for goods or services.
2. To discharge a debt or obligation.
3. To bear a cost or penalty in recompense: You'll pay for this mischief!
4. To be profitable or worthwhile: It doesn't pay to get angry.
1. Of, relating to, giving, or receiving payments.
2. Requiring payment to use or operate: a pay toilet.
3. Yielding valuable metal in mining: a pay streak.
1. The act of paying or state of being paid.
2. Money given in return for work done; salary; wages.
a. Recompense or reward: Your thanks are pay enough.
b. Retribution or punishment.
4. Paid employment: the workers in our pay.
5. A person considered with regard to his or her credit or reliability in discharging debts.
1. To pay or return (what is owed as a debt).
2. To repay (a person who is owed a debt).
3. To give recompense to; reward: How can we ever pay you back for what you've done for us?
4. To reciprocate; return: pay back a kindness.
5. To retaliate against or get revenge upon.
To reduce (a debt) through payment.
1. To pay the full amount on (a debt).
2. To result in profit or advantage; succeed: Your efforts will eventually pay off.
3. To pay the wages due to (an employee) upon discharge.
4. To pay (a plaintiff) to settle a lawsuit out of court.
5. To bribe.
6. Nautical To turn or cause to turn (a vessel) to leeward.
1. To give (money) out; spend.
2. To let out (a line or rope) by slackening.
To give over the full monetary amount demanded.
pay (one's) dues
To earn a given right or position through hard work, long-term experience, or suffering: She paid her dues in small-town theaters before being cast in a Broadway play.
pay (one's) way
To contribute one's own share; pay for oneself.
pay the piper
To bear the consequences of something.
pay through the nose Informal
To pay excessively.
[Middle English paien, from Old French paiier, from Late Latin pācāre, to appease, from Latin, to pacify, subdue, from pāx, pāc-, peace; see pag- in Indo-European roots.]
tr.v. payed or paid (pād), pay·ing, pays
To coat or cover (seams of a ship, for example) with waterproof material such as tar or asphalt.
[Obsolete French peier, from Old French, from Latin picāre, from pix, pic-, pitch.]
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.
pay the piper
To face up to the consequences of what you have done; from the idea of enjoying a dance to piper’s music and then having to pay the musician.
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited