Dictionary.com

the devil to pay

Save This Word!

Trouble to be faced as a result of one's actions: “When the principal hears of Bobby's pranks, there will be the devil to pay.”

QUIZZES

QUIZ YOURSELF ON THE 12 TYPES OF VERB TENSES!

Loosen up your grammar muscles because it’s time to test your knowledge on verb tenses!
Question 1 of 6
The verb tenses can be split into which 3 primary categories?

Meet Grammar Coach

Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing

Meet Grammar Coach

Improve Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

How to use the devil to pay in a sentence

Idioms and Phrases with the devil to pay

devil to pay, the

Serious trouble resulting from some action, as in There'll be the devil to pay if you let that dog out. This expression originally referred to trouble resulting from making a bargain with the devil, but later was broadened to apply to any sort of problem. A variant, the devil to pay and no pitch hot, first recorded in 1865, gave rise to the theory that the expression was originally nautical, since pay also means “to waterproof a seam by caulking it with pitch,” and no pitch hot meant it was a particularly difficult job, since cold pitch is hard to use. However, the original expression is much older and is the one that survives. [c. 1400]

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