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The meaning and origin of the expression: He will give the Devil his due

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He will give the Devil his due

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Literally, pay the devil what you owe him. Used figuratively to mean 'give back what you owe', either money or favours.


Cobbe family portrait of William ShakespeareFrom Shakespeare's Henry V Part 1, 1597:

ORLÉANS: And I will take up that with "Give the devil his due."

The expression is referred to in the play as a proverb and so it is likely that Shakespeare was repeating it rather than coining it.

See other phrases and sayings from Shakespeare.