One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Give a compliment in return for another.
- ‘Paul compliments me on my dancing and I return the compliment: ‘well, that was a great groove.’’
- 1.1 Retaliate or respond in kind.
fight back, strike back, hit back, respond, react, reply, reciprocate, counterattack, return fire, return the compliment, put up a fight, take the bait, rise to the bait, return like for like, get back at someone, get, give tit for tat, give as good as one gets, let someone see how it feels, give someone a dose of their own medicine, give someone a taste of their own medicineView synonyms
- ‘I always take elections seriously, though I know they never return the compliment.’
- ‘There's no chance of them doing me any favours, so I have every intention of returning the compliment if I get the chance.’
- ‘And the students returned the compliment at Her Excellency's request.’
- ‘I am pleased, as we all are, to get comments from our fellow writers and its time that I returned the compliment in some small way until I can sort my page out.’
- ‘I was invited to their school and I returned the compliment by inviting them to the Commons.’
- ‘At the welcome party local schoolchildren performed a concert much to the appreciation of the Bolivians, who in turn returned the compliment by performing a number of musical pieces.’
- ‘But she's so busy working this week - and will be over the holiday weekend - that I doubt I'll see her at all for a while, and won't be able to return the compliment.’
- ‘How right and proper then that we should return the compliment by meeting their request for another game between the counties - this time on Waterford soil.’
- ‘This was our chance to return the compliment and show colleagues from New Zealand how we teach children in Wiltshire.’
- ‘I had educated them a little on Irish history so they returned the compliment and educated me.’
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