give as good as one gets

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give as good as one gets

  1. (idiomatic) To behave toward others in a manner resembling or commensurate with their behavior towards oneself, especially in a situation where one is insulted or otherwise ill-treated.
    • 2012 August 23, Alasdair Lamont, “Hearts 0-1 Liverpool”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      On balance, it was harsh on Hearts, who had given as good as they got against their more-fancied opponents, who, despite not being at full strength, fielded a multi-million pound team.
    • 1988, "World Notes SOUTH AFRICA," Time, 21 Nov.,
      The Foreign Correspondents Association's annual banquet last week turned into an angry slanging match. Botha gave as good as he got. "I am sick and tired of a lot of foreign representatives descending on my country and picking up on all the dirty work instead of all the beauty, promise and goodwill," Botha said.