return the favor: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘return the favor’ mean?

The idiom "return the favor" means to do something nice for someone in response to them doing something nice for you.

Idiom Explorer

Gratitude Unleashed

The idiom "return the favor" is closely related to the concept of reciprocity, which is deeply ingrained in human social interactions. Reciprocity refers to the exchange of goods, services, or acts of kindness between individuals or groups. It is a fundamental aspect of human relationships and plays a significant role in maintaining social cohesion and trust.

When someone does us a good turn or does something kind or helpful for us, we often feel the need to give back or return the favor. This innate desire to repay kindness is a natural expression of gratitude and appreciation. It is a way of acknowledging the kindness and goodwill shown to us and expressing our own goodwill in return.

The idiom "return the favor" encompasses the idea of reciprocation and exchange. It implies that when someone does us a favor, we should do them a favor in return. It emphasizes the importance of reciprocity and the value we place on each other's kindness and help.

I will return the favor with gratitude and reciprocation.

The phrase "return the favor" is widely used in everyday conversation and writing. It can be used in a variety of contexts, such as when someone helps you out in a difficult situation and you want to do me a favour by expressing your gratitude through kind gestures or helpful acts.

One related idiom that captures the essence of "return the favor" is "good turn." When someone does us a good turn, they are doing something kind or helpful for us. This could be giving us a hand when we're in need, offering valuable advice, or going out of their way to make things easier for us. When we return the favor, we are doing a good turn in response to their kind gesture.

Furthermore, the idiom "give back" is another phrase that is closely related to "return the favor." When we give back, we are acknowledging the help or support we have received and reciprocating by doing something kind or helpful in return. Giving back implies a sense of gratitude and a desire to show appreciation by making a positive impact in the lives of others.

Lastly, "do me a favour" is an idiom that also aligns with the concept of "return the favor." When we ask someone to do us a favor, we are seeking their assistance or help with something. By returning the favor, we are doing something kind or helpful for them in return. It is an act of reciprocity and gratitude.

The idiom "return the favor" is deeply rooted in the concept of reciprocity and the exchange of acts of kindness in human relationships. It involves acknowledging and repaying the kindness or favor shown to us by doing something kind or helpful in return. This expression is closely related to the idioms "good turn," "give back," and "do me a favour," which all convey the idea of reciprocating kindness and expressing gratitude through positive actions.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "return the favor" can be used in a sentence:

  • After John helped me move last weekend, I returned the favor by helping him paint his house.
  • When Lisa baked cookies for her neighbor, her neighbor decided to return the favor and mow her lawn.
  • My friend lent me some money when I was in need, so I will definitely return the favor and help her when she needs it.

More "Reciprocity" idioms

We missed the mark - nothing found.