What does give the devil his due mean?
acknowledge the talent of an opponent or unpleasant person
Examples of this Idiom in Movies & TV Shows:
Dallas “The Dove Hunt” (1979)
Time of Scene:
Tom Owens: My boy and I had to start all over again, from nothing in Landowne.
Ben Masters: Mr. Owens has made a lot of friends around here, Ewing.
Jock Ewing: Yeah, the kind of friends that ambush people.
Dan Owens: They all know my father’s story and who ruined him in Texas. Nobody’s gonna feel sorry for whatever happens here.
Jock Ewing: So that’s it? You’re gonna kill me in cold blood, huh?
J.R. Ewing: Listen, maybe we can make a deal, sir.
Jock Ewing: No, J.R. All right, Owens. Come on. If you’re gonna do it, do it.
Tom Owens: I can’t. I’m not a killer. I thought you’re were gonna shoot my boy. I was gonna kill you, and get away with it. Give the devil his due.
Time of Scene:
Will Shakespeare: Your observations, Bottom, are neither here nor there.
Kate: Is that another one?
Will Shakespeare: Yes, just invented it. When it comes to language, the world’s mine oyster. In fact, I’m so clever I could end up with too much of a good thing.
Kate: Maybe you should stop now.
Will Shakespeare: Can’t. They just pop up all of a sudden but, give the devil his due, there’s method in my madness.
Kate: Really, stop it.
Will Shakespeare: Why, ’tis a foregone conclusion that they’ll leave you bedazzled and in stitches and before long you will be demanding more with bated breath.
Bottom: The world’s your oyster? Why would that be a good thing?
Will Shakespeare: Tad obscure, er… what the dickens! I’ll spoil my spotless reputation. Must be tired, I didn’t sleep one wink. If I’m not careful, you’ll send me packing on a wild goose chase and I’ll vanish into thin air or be dead as a doornail.
Kate: Stop it. I really mean it. You are very clever, Mr. Shakespeare, but you can be an awful show-off.
Will Shakespeare: But with a heart of gold.
Kate: No! Just a show-off.
Will Shakespeare: Ay, there’s the rub.
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