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give as good as one gets

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Return in kind, retaliate, as in In an argument Laura can give as good she gets, or Don't worry about the bullies in Bobby's class—he can give as good as he gets. The general idea of this expression dates from the late 1600s, but the precise wording was first recorded only in 1952.

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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.

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