balance the books
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- (idiomatic, accounting) To add up all the debits and credits.
- To put or keep any closed or conservative system or its analysis in balance.
- 1992, Margaret Walworth; Donald F. Moores, Terrence J. O'Rourke, A Free Hand: Enfranchising the Education of Deaf Children, page 155:
- Let us not balance the books of oppression of the deaf on the backs and minds of other oppressed linguistic ethnic and cultural minorities.
- 2007, John Gribbin, The Origins of the Future, page 76:
- If you want to make a negatively charged particle, such as an electron, out of energy, you also have to make a positively charged particle to balance the books.
- 2003, T. J. MacGregor, Black Water:
- When you broke one of his rules, you had to sacrifice something to earn forgiveness or to balance the books.