What does pay your dues mean?


Idiom Meaning:

earn respect by working hard


Examples of this Idiom in Movies & TV Shows:

Paris Is Burning (1990)

Time of Scene: 01:09:00

Dorian Corey: I always had hopes of being a big star. But as you get older, you aim a little lower. Everybody wants to make an impression, some mark upon the world. Then you think, you’ve made a mark on the world if you just get through it, and a few people remember your name. Then you’ve left a mark. You don’t have to bend the whole world. I think it’s better to just enjoy it. Pay your dues, and just enjoy it. If you shoot an arrow and it goes real high, hooray for you.


Blood In, Blood Out (1993)

Time of Scene: 00:29:00

Paco: What do you vatos want to do ese?

Spider: Caele, homies.

Paco: You gotta pay your dues to me, pinche mamon.

Spider: You want to throw it out, puto? Come and get some. Chale, motherfucker!

Paco: Man, fuck you. You want another placazo, bad ass? Come and get it motherfucker!

Spider: Chinga tu madre! I will cut your fuckin’ heart out, punk! I’ll kill you!

Coolaide: Andale!

Paco: Fuck these other vatos, ese! Get up Chucky, get up! You fuck with my familia eh, you got to answer to me, here and now come on, toe to toe. Let’s go, motherfucker! Let’s see what kind of man you are in daylight. What’s the matter, Spider you are scared of me?

Spider: I’m gonna catch you on the fuckin’ rebound, punk!

Paco: I’m gonna squash you, like the pinche bug you are, Come on, motherfucker!

Spider: Vamonos!


The Lives We Lead (2015)

Time of Scene: n/a

Michael Fielding: I know how you feel alright? Really, I do. I was like you once. A loser. Had nothing going for me. In this industry, you’ve just gotta pay your dues. You do want to be an actor, right?

Gavin O’Neill: Yes.

Michael Fielding: Well, then get in there and fake it!


Submit Pay Your Dues Idiom Examples

Do you know an example of this idiom from another movie or TV show?

Please send us your suggestion, and we could feature it in the next update.

Click here to submit idiom examples.


Pay Your Dues Idiom


← P Idioms 🎞️ Q Idioms →


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments