pay the piper


a person who plays on a pipe.
a bagpiper.
pay the piper,
to pay the cost of something.
to bear the unfavorable consequences of one's actions or pleasures: Someday he'll have to pay the piper for all that gambling.

before 1000; Middle English; Old English pīpere. See pipe1, -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
piper (ˈpaɪpə)
1.  a person who plays a pipe or bagpipes
2.  pay the piper and call the tune to bear the cost of an undertaking and control it

Piper (ˈpaɪpə)
John. 1903--92, British artist. An official war artist in World War II, he is known esp for his watercolours of bombed churches and his stained glass in Coventry Cathedral

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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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

pay the piper definition

To pay the consequences for self-indulgent behavior: “If you stay up late at night to watch TV, in the morning you will have to pay the piper.”

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

pay the piper

see under call the tune.

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