An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth
What's the meaning of the phrase 'An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth'?
The proverb 'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth' expresses the notion that for every wrong done there should be a compensating measure of justice.
What's the origin of the phrase 'An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth'?
The proverb comes from the Code of Hammurabi. Hammurabi was King of Babylon, 1792-1750BC. The code survives today in the Akkadian language.
The phrase is also used in the Bible, in Matthew 5:38 (King James Version):
Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.
An anonymous modern saying, which is widely attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, is "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.". While this quotation is very much in the style of others by Gandhi, there's no evidence that he ever said it.
See also: the List of Proverbs.