Tit For Tat

With the term “tit for tat” in mind one thinks of serious things like personal  vendettas, where one goes out on a mission and kills all before him just to satisfy his need for revenge,  or family feuds, where every single member of the families in question are either killed or maimed or living in fear of their lives, or gangland crime, where it’s not safe to go out in the street lest you be hit in the crossfire.  Or, on a smaller scale, two teenage girls offending each other in public “She bad mouthed me so I’ll bad mouth her back. I’ll tell everyone what she told me in secret, the bitch.  That’ll learn her”.  Or, yet another image – too little tiny weeny tots, one pulling the other’s hair and the other pulling hers even harder, neither of them letting go so as to prove that “you pull my hair, I’ll pull yours”

None of this “turning the other cheek”.  No…. it’s “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”  “you did me wrong so I’ll do you a similar disfavour”.   He  has hurt you bad and you’re not letting him away with it.  You’ll lash out with all you’ve got and hurt him right back.

“Tit for tat”, “tip for tap”, “this for that” and, in dutch, “dit voor dat”.  Whatever its origins are, we all get its meaning!

 

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