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Definition of Idiomatic Expressions


idioms

What does give the devil his due mean?


Meaning of idioms with examples...

give the devil his due

Literally, the phrase 'give the devil his due' means to pay the devil what you owe him. Figuratively, the phrase is used to mean that one has to acknowledge the positive qualities of a person who is unpleasant or disliked.

The origin of the phrase


The phrase 'give the devil his due' comes from Shakespeare's play 'Henry V Part 1, 1597'. It is used in a conversation between Prince Henry and his friend Poins:


PRINCE HENRY

Sir John stands to his word, the devil shall have
his bargain; for he was never yet a breaker of
proverbs: he will give the devil his due.

POINS

Then art thou damned for keeping thy word with the devil.

PRINCE HENRY

Else he had been damned for cozening the devil. (Act 1, Scene 2)


(Act 1, Scene 2)


Example(s):

I don't like the man, but I am obliged to give the devil his due. He is a skilled worker.

That girl is so mean, but I have to give the devil his due - she is so beautiful.

He is a racist politician. But I'll give the devil his due. He's been elected twice to office due to his successful economic policy.

Give the devil his due - idiom



This idiom is in the religion category


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