Tit-for-tat meaning

(idiomatic) Equivalent retribution, an eye for an eye, returning exactly what you get.

If you hit me, I'll hit you back; tit for tat.

noun
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This for that.
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Tit for tat is defined as a repayment of equal value for a trade or for retaliation.

An example of tit for tat is when you exchange four quarters for a dollar.

noun
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Repayment in kind, as for an injury; retaliation.
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(Cockney rhyming slang) Hat.
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Having the characteristic of returning bad for bad.

Unfortunately, many adults retain a tit-for-tat attitude, but in a more refined way than the simple, childish shove for shove.

adjective
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Origin of tit-for-tat

  • Probably alteration of tip for tap

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • Origin uncertain: conjectured to be related to "dit voor dat" - Dutch for "this for that", "tip for tap" (i.e. a blow for a blow), or French "tant pour tant" (equal for equal) - The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms - Eds. Elizabeth McLaren Kirkpatrick, Catherine M. Schwarz, 1993

    From Wiktionary