balance the books


1

Add up the debits and credits of an account and determine the difference; also, bring the two sides into equilibrium. For example, It's Joe's job to balance the books each quarter. [Late 1500s]

2

Settle an account by paying what is due, as in We can't balance the books till your last check clears. [Early 1700s]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.