give the devil his due


give the devil his due


  • give credit to an opponent’s merits, grudgingly or not.
  • to give your rival appropriate praise
  • the acclamation of some goodness in a bad person, thing or situation
  • when you owe the devil, you should pay up

Example Sentences

  1. I don’t like what the new management has done, but give the devil his due, sales have improved.
  2. The new car mechanic is very angry, rude person, also give the devil his due he is a good mechanic though.
  3. Amy is very arrogant and offensive, but she is beautiful. I’ll give the devil his due.
  4. Their service is awfully expensive but there is none other like them so I have to give the devil his due.
  5. Apple’s iPhone is very expensive I cannot afford but that’s a quality product. I must give the devil his due.


This idiomatic expression is originated from a history play Henry IV, Part 1 by William Shakespeare, supposed to have been printed no later than 1597.

Henry IV, Part 1 is part of a series of history plays tracing the career of Prince Henry, also known as Prince Hal, who would eventually become England’s King Henry V.

The phrase “give the devil his due” comes up in a conversation between Prince Henry and his friend Poins.

Prince Henry:
Sir John stands to his word, the devil shall have his bargain; for he was never yet a breaker of proverbs: he will give the devil his due.

Then art thou damned for keeping thy word with the devil.

Price Henry:
Else he had been damned for cozening the devil. (Act 1, Scene 2)

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Oh, thank God, finally, I’ve found the origin of the proverb.

‒ Amy November 16, 2017

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