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pay back - definition and synonyms

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phrasal verb [transitive]
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theypay back
he/she/itpays back
present participlepaying back
past tensepaid back
past participlepaid back
  1. 1
    to give someone the same amount of money that you borrowed from them

    I’ll be able to pay you back next week.

    I don’t think we can afford to pay the full amount back now.

    pay someone something back:

    She’ll pay us the rest back when she gets her paycheck.

  2. 2
    to do something bad to someone because they have done something bad to you
    pay someone back for something:

    She knew how to pay them back for the trouble they had caused.

See also main entry: pay


to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

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Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

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