I know "karma is a b**ch", "what goes around, comes around", and "you reap what you sow", but I'm looking for a much more elaborate phrase that's very descriptive, which I had heard ages ago but can't recall it anymore.

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    What is a b**ch? A bench? A belch? A beach? A brooch? If you want to use a word, use the word. If you don't want to use a word, then just use a different word. You cannot have it both ways. youtube.com/watch?v=dF1NUposXVQ
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 12:11
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    @RegDwigнt♦ First of all, there's a thing called trying to be decent, and I wasn't sure if the word would violate the rules on here (with or without context). And how would you propose to use a different word in this instance? If you and anybody with knowledge of such a phrase already know what the word is, why does it matter whether it comes with letters or *'s?
    – Howdy
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 12:41
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    @RegDwigнt♦ cont. "You cannot have it both ways"... based on what authority do you get to make that declaration? How about "I CAN have it both ways"? What's even more amazing is that you, as a moderator, was not only not contributing to the question but elected to criticise people's choice to excercise caution over the use of a potentially sensitive word, when said word was only one of few examples listed to further illustrate the query. It wasn't even the subject matter of the question posed, and you chose to be pedantic over this?!
    – Howdy
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 12:42
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    Just dropping this comment here in support of common decency.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 14:10
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    @JasonBassford The consensus here is that profanity should not be masked out except in titles, so there was no need to mask it out. Reg could definitely have let Howdy know this in a politer way, though. Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 19:07

4 Answers 4


What goes around comes around idiom

used to say that if someone treats other people badly he or she will eventually be treated badly by someone else. (M-W)


Those who live by the sword die by the sword.

My favourite Source; Matthew 26:52

BibleHub gives many variants. An example of this version appears in the Guardian {Simon Weil}.


I'm looking for a much more elaborate phrase that's very descriptive.

I suspect you're looking for this:

As you sow so shall you reap.

From The Phrase Finder:

Your deeds, good or bad, will repay you in kind...

From the Bible, Galatians VI (King James Version):

Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.


Got what I was looking for!

"Turnabout is fair play".

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    In my experience, "turnabout is fair play" is most commonly used to mean that it is fair to retaliate against someone for something they did, with an implication that the retaliation will take a similar form to the original offence. That's not really the same as the idea expressed in the question title, that if you do something to someone the same thing will happen to you. Retaliation is a choice made by the offended person, not the will of the universe.
    – nnnnnn
    Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 5:59

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