he who pays the piper calls the tune

idiom
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of he who pays the piper calls the tune

used to say that the person who pays for something controls how it is done

Word by Word Definitions

he play
  1. : that male one who is neither speaker nor hearer — compare him, his, it, she, they

  2. used in a generic sense or when the sex of the person is unspecified

  1. : a male person or animal

  2. : one that is strongly masculine or has strong masculine appeal

  1. : the 5th letter of the Hebrew alphabet — see Alphabet Table

  1. helium

pay play pays
  1. : to make due return to for services rendered or property delivered

  2. : to engage for money : hire

  3. : to give in return for goods or service

  1. : something paid for a purpose and especially as a salary or wage : remuneration

  2. : the act or fact of paying or being paid

  3. : the status of being paid by an employer : employ

  1. : containing or leading to something precious or valuable

  2. : equipped with a coin slot for receiving a fee for use

  3. : requiring payment

  1. : to coat with a waterproof composition

piper play
  1. : one that plays on a pipe

call play calls
  1. : to speak in a loud distinct voice so as to be heard at a distance : shout

  2. : to make a request or demand

  3. : to utter a characteristic note or cry

  1. : an act of calling with the voice : shout

  2. : an imitation of the cry of a bird or other animal made to attract it

  3. : an instrument used for calling

tune play
  1. : a pleasing succession of musical tones : melody

  2. : a dominant theme

  3. : correct musical pitch or consonance

  1. : to adjust in musical pitch or cause to be in tune

  2. : to bring into harmony : attune

  3. : to adjust for precise functioning


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