A debt harshly insisted upon.
Due measure owed to one, esp. when demanded out of spite or vengeance.
Origin of pound-of-flesh
- From Antonio's debt to Shylock in The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- From Shakepeare's The Merchant of Venice, in which Antonio literally owes a pound of his flesh to the moneylender Shylock.