pay your dues Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “pay your dues” in the English Dictionary

"pay your dues" in British English

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pay your dues

to do something that you do not enjoy in order to have something that you want, or because you feel it is your duty
(Definition of pay your dues from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"pay your dues" in American English

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pay your dues

to earn the right to have something because you worked hard: I’ve paid my dues for the last 25 years, and now I’m ready for a comfortable retirement.
(Definition of pay your dues from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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