pay one's dues


[doo, dyoo]
owed at present; having reached the date for payment: This bill is due.
owing or owed, irrespective of whether the time of payment has arrived: This bill is due next month.
owing or observed as a moral or natural right.
rightful; proper; fitting: due care; in due time.
adequate; sufficient: a due margin for delay.
under engagement as to time; expected to be ready, be present, or arrive; scheduled: The plane is due at noon.
something that is due, owed, or naturally belongs to someone.
Usually, dues. a regular fee or charge payable at specific intervals, especially to a group or organization: membership dues.
directly or exactly: a due east course.
Obsolete, duly.
due to,
attributable to; ascribable to: The delay was due to heavy traffic.
because of; owing to: All planes are grounded due to fog.
give someone his/her due,
to give what justice demands; treat fairly: Even though he had once cheated me, I tried to give him his due.
to credit a disliked or dishonorable person for something that is likable, honorable, or the like.
pay one's dues, to earn respect, a position, or a right by hard work, sacrifice, or experience: She's a famous musician now, but she paid her dues with years of practice and performing in small towns.

1275–1325; Middle English < Anglo-French; Middle French deu, past participle of devoir < Latin dēbēre to owe; see debt

dueness, noun

dew, do, due (see synonym study at do)(see usage note at the current entry).

11. Due to as a prepositional phrase meaning “because of, owing to” has been in use since the 14th century: Due to the sudden rainstorm, the picnic was moved indoors. Some object to this use on the grounds that due is historically an adjective and thus should be used only predicatively in constructions like The delay was due to electrical failure. Despite such objections, due to occurs commonly as a compound preposition and is standard in all varieties of speech and writing.

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
due (djuː)
1.  (postpositive) immediately payable
2.  (postpositive) owed as a debt, irrespective of any date for payment
3.  requisite; fitting; proper
4.  (prenominal) adequate or sufficient; enough
5.  (postpositive) expected or appointed to be present or arrive: the train is now due
6.  due to attributable to or caused by
7.  something that is owed, required, or due
8.  give a person his due to give or allow a person what is deserved or right
9.  directly or exactly; straight: a course due west
usage  The use of due to as a compound preposition (the performance has been cancelled due to bad weather) was formerly considered incorrect, but is now acceptable

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

mid-14c., from O.Fr. deu, pp. of devoir "to owe," from L. debere "to owe" (see debt). In reference to points of the compass (e.g. due east) it is attested from c.1600, originally nautical, from notion of "fitting, rightful."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

pay one's dues

Earn something through hard work, long experience, or suffering. For example, She'd paid her dues in small-town shows before she finally got a Broadway part. This expression transfers the cost of being a paid-up member in an organization to that of gaining experience in an endeavor. [Mid-1900s]

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