pound of flesh

noun phrase

: a payment or penalty exacted to fulfill a deal or punishment
loan sharks taking their pound of flesh

Examples of pound of flesh in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Alcohol never walks away from a good time without taking its pound of flesh. Allison Robicelli, Washington Post, 3 Jan. 2024 To get its pound of flesh, Elliot didn’t shy away from theatrics, either, going so far as to seize a naval training vessel in Ghana. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, 9 June 2023 Getting the work done right, however, can extract a pound of flesh, judging from the No. 2 consumer complaint from last year: home repairs and renovations. Jeanne Sahadi, CNN, 24 May 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pound of flesh.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1827, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pound of flesh was in 1827

Dictionary Entries Near pound of flesh

Cite this Entry

“Pound of flesh.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pound%20of%20flesh. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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