Definition of pay one's dues in English:

pay one's dues


  • 1Fulfil one's obligations.

    ‘if she was the caring person she makes herself out to be she would insist on paying her dues’
    • ‘The choir's history can quietly boast the development of soul stars like Carleen Anderson and Sam Moore, both of whom return to this album to pay their dues.’
    • ‘We are taught that if we work hard and pay our dues, we will be rewarded in riches and love from family and friends.’
    • ‘I'd love to say we do it to pay our dues or because we love literature or even for posterity, but the truth is we review books because we're addicts.’
    • ‘They do not pay their dues to society and take money away from local businesses.’
    • ‘For many, today's vote was about what has to happen from now on, rather than paying their dues to factional alliances.’
    • ‘He pays his dues to the sport but without romance.’
    • ‘They will stand up for the silent, law-abiding majority who play by the rules and pay their dues.’
    1. 1.1 Experience difficulties before achieving success.
      ‘this drummer has paid his dues with the best’
      • ‘I have paid my dues, produced many successful students and defined my policies so that I am respected and established.’
      • ‘There's always a maturing process with bands: a period to pay their dues while they find their sound, solidify their act and just generally figure out what kind of band they're actually in.’
      • ‘Their reward is a job well done, but age and experience definitely count; you must pay your dues as you progress up the ladder of success.’
      • ‘From my experience, you have to pay your dues in this game, you have to lose many times in order to be a good winner.’
      • ‘After paying his dues, Sanchez finally got his hands on the gear he needed to duplicate the sounds he was hearing in his head.’
      • ‘Like every other success story, Mike has paid his dues.’
      • ‘You train just as long and you have to pay your dues just like in any other sport, ‘he states.’’
      • ‘I have acquired some business and leadership experience; now I plan to pay my dues to acquire the practical experience and relationships to become a well-rounded school leader.’
      • ‘And yet even today, after a decade of paying his dues, there are still afternoons when the crowd at Highpoint West refuses to buy even a single piece of the non-stick cookware he demonstrates.’
      • ‘He's paid his dues, he's experienced, he knows what it entails, he knows the personnel of this team.’