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for one's pains

In return for the trouble one has taken, as in And all he got for his pains was a failing grade. This expression is nearly always used ironically to indicate that the return was not appropriate to the effort made. [ First half of 1500s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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