Meaning of one's pound of flesh in English:

one's pound of flesh


  • Something one is strictly or legally entitled to, but which it is ruthless or inhuman to demand.

    ‘If the city councillors decide to go ahead with demanding their pound of flesh, perhaps the central government could compensate by offering to honour its moral obligation by paying the rent on behalf of the embassies.’
    • ‘But he will still demand his monthly pound of flesh.’
    • ‘‘The coalition partners will demand their pound of flesh when it comes to getting the best portfolios,’ said one observer.’
    • ‘And they let me do this three-CD spoken-word box set without really demanding a pound of flesh in return.’
    • ‘A thought for the New Year might be that they are after all money lenders and like the most famous of them, Shylock, there comes a time when they will demand their pound of flesh.’
    • ‘And while the jury is aghast at some of the recent evidence, and will rightly demand its pound of flesh, it is also capable of taking a longer-term view.’
    • ‘Now that these men demand their pound of flesh in increasingly raucous voices, the government at the Centre has no resort left but to acquiesce.’
    • ‘Despite the sport demanding its pound of flesh, financially and physically, he managed to pull his weight for four full years.’
    • ‘I sense they feel their power and, at the worst possible moment, double the price, or demand a pound of flesh.’
    • ‘Clubs are demanding their pound of flesh and, bit by bit, are seeking to subvert the supremacy of nationalist interests.’


    With allusion to Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice.