tit for tat


noun

with an equivalent given in retaliation, as a blow for a blow, repartee, etc.: He answered their insults tit for tat.

Origin of tit for tat

First recorded in 1550–60; perhaps variant of earlier tip for tap
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tit for tat

British Dictionary definitions for tit for tat

tit for tat


noun

an equivalent given in return or retaliation; blow for blow

Word Origin for tit for tat

C16: from earlier tip for tap
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Culture definitions for tit for tat

tit for tat


Giving back exactly what one receives: “If you hit me, I'll do the same to you; it's tit for tat.”

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.

Idioms and Phrases with tit for tat

tit for tat


Repayment in kind, retaliation, as in If he won't help with the beach clean-up, I won't run a booth at the bake sale; that's tit for tat. This term is believed to be a corruption of tip for tap, which meant “a blow for a blow.” Its current form dates from the mid-1500s.

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