Definition of return the compliment in English:

return the compliment


  • 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. 1.1Retaliate or respond in kind.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I had educated them a little on Irish history so they returned the compliment and educated me.’
      • ‘There's no chance of them doing me any favours, so I have every intention of returning the compliment if I get the chance.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 always take elections seriously, though I know they never return the compliment.’
      • ‘This was our chance to return the compliment and show colleagues from New Zealand how we teach children in Wiltshire.’