Definition of settle (or pay) a (or the) score in English:

settle (or pay) a (or the) score


  • 1Take revenge on someone for something damaging that they have done in the past.

    ‘his 957-page book also appears to be a chance to settle old scores’
    • ‘They find us relishing the chance to settle the score.’
    • ‘The natural reaction of most of us is to settle a score, to get even.’
    • ‘It was meant to be a high-flying stunt to settle the score on a simmering local football rivalry, but not everyone has seen the funny side.’
    • ‘And we settled a score with Steve, who beat me on the North West Stages this year, but finished 15 seconds behind us!’
    • ‘Each wanted to settle the score and claim that Hip-Hop Culture began and thrived on their home turf, when in fact both places probably had the same amount of youth on the street developing the culture that we know today as Hip-Hop.’
    • ‘So just who would want to settle a score with Morrison?’
    • ‘‘They're a team we lost to in the first half of the season so we'd like to settle the score,’ he said.’
    • ‘You'll have to be careful though, because if you keep targeting one driver, he may challenge you to a showdown race to settle the score.’
    • ‘At the time, she thought it was because he sensed she was there to settle a score over the dog.’
    • ‘The book is trash written by a bitter man who is now determined to settle a score.’
    grievance, bone to pick, axe to grind, grudge, complaint
    take revenge, take one's revenge, hit back at someone, get back at someone, retaliate, get even, get one's own back, pay someone back, give someone a dose of their own medicine, give someone a taste of their own medicine, pay someone back in their own coin
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  • 2dated Pay off a debt or other obligation.

    • ‘It can also be a wallowing in the past and all the wrongs it wrought, a desire to return and settle the score, to remake what we regret.’
    • ‘But the company did ultimately agree to settle the score, even if resolution came too late to save your family vacation.’