Sometimes, people would make a statement that makes them feel slick, or something. And I would use the exact same statement against them in a similar scenario that I create.

For example, in the movie Zootopia, Nick says "It's called a hustle, sweetheart" when Judy calls him a liar after she buys him a popsicle which he then uses to make a profit. Then, later on, Judy uses the exact same phrase after she has sufficient evidence to put him in jail for tax evasion. In this example, "It's called a hustle, sweetheart" is being repeated.

What is this called exactly? Sorta like touche?

  • 3
    There’s definitely a lot of touché in this kind of turning the tables on someone, another closely related expression (though broader than this specific scenario). Jun 20, 2019 at 8:46
  • 2
    A similar item came up last year, but it was closed for some reason: english.stackexchange.com/questions/424494/…
    – selovich
    Jun 20, 2019 at 9:00
  • ... 'Tat for tat'? Jun 20, 2019 at 11:54
  • Flip the tables, give as good as you get, are the closest I can think of. Jun 24, 2019 at 12:04

3 Answers 3


There are a number of expressions that suggest using a person's own words, methods, or weapons against them.

This means doing to someone what they have either done to you or are known to do.

This means that a person's end or punishment was fitting for their actions.

Not so much using someone's weapon against them, but reversing fortunes, perhaps turning a disadvantage someone gave you into an advantage against them.

This simply means that a person received "what was coming to them"; that unpleasant words or behaviour resulted in the most likely or expected unpleasant outcome.

Perhaps less so:

A slightly different angle, but this means to allow someone to bring about their own downfall.

This means that the person by their own careless words got themselves into difficulty or lost an argument.

Depending on how you are using this, I thought it might also be worth suggesting that such a situation, where somebody is beaten by their own words, may be an example of irony. To be a true example of irony, the result must be the reverse of what was to be expected. So, if a person said something expecting his statement to win an argument, but his words actually caused his downfall, this would fit.

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    I think 'giving them a taste of their own medicine' is about as close as one is going to get here, though it's by no means restricted to using a verbatim quote as a riposte. I can't upvote without a supporting reference, though (though this answer is admittedly perhaps the least in need of references that there has been for quite a while). Jun 20, 2019 at 9:42
  • @EdwinAshworth I've added references, although I thought to look things up in a dictionary was expected of the OP. I listed my suggestions in order of relevance and agree that is the closest - the others are there for comparison if anything.
    – Astralbee
    Jun 20, 2019 at 9:59
  • 1
    +1 now, but references (linked and attributed) are expected to accompany decent answers as well as acceptable questions. With this sort of question, though, it can be difficult for OPs to know where to start their research. Googling "use someone's exact words against them" here, perhaps? 2 hits (non counting the references to the question here), neither helpful. Jun 20, 2019 at 10:06

On tvtropes.org the example you give falls under the trope "ironic echo"



I've heard: You opened the door, I just walked in.

  • Where have you heard this? Is it commonly used? Can you add references to your answer please?
    – CJ Dennis
    Mar 21, 2020 at 23:58

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