tit for tat

tit for tat

noun
with an equivalent given in retaliation, as a blow for a blow, repartee, etc.: He answered their insults tit for tat.

Origin:
1550–60; perhaps variant of earlier tip for tap

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World English Dictionary
tit for tat
 
n
an equivalent given in return or retaliation; blow for blow
 
[C16: from earlier tip for tap]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

tit for tat definition


Giving back exactly what one receives: “If you hit me, I'll do the same to you; it's tit for tat.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

tit for tat

Repayment in kind, retaliation, as in If he won't help with the beach clean-up, I won't run a booth at the bake sale; that's tit for tat. This term is believed to be a corruption of tip for tap, which meant "a blow for a blow." Its current form dates from the mid-1500s.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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