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I've heard speakers using that very expression ("Says you") in response to a compliment, which makes it closer to saying "Look who is talking" or "You're the one who deserves it". A quick search, though, only led me to the meaning "that's only your opinion" in an expression of disagreement or denial.

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  • Could you specify in which country and by whom you heard this expression used? I am unfamiliar with it, I'm thinking it could be a generational or a dialect difference.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 20, 2021 at 6:57
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    I've heard and used (when I was a teenager and in my 20s): "Says who?"
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 20, 2021 at 7:01
  • Normal in the UK, also Australia if slightly old fashioned and definitely informal. Sometimes written 'Sez you!' Also 'Sez who?' is heard. See sez in Collins Dctionary Sep 20, 2021 at 7:13
  • I have never heard "says you" in response to a compliment. Normally the phrase is used to express disagreement, it basically means "that's just your opinion, and your opinion is wrong".
    – nnnnnn
    Sep 20, 2021 at 7:22
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    @Mari-LouA She's Australian. She posted a photo on IG and used this expression to respond to sb telling her she looks good. She's in her twenties. Sep 20, 2021 at 9:16

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If you’re Australian then yes definitely, other regions maybe not. ‘Says you!’ In response to a compliment or insult is effectively reversing the insult/compliment, and is similar to saying “that’s rich coming from you” but without the inherent negativity.

However, “says you!” is interpreted in different regions to mean “so says you” or “you say that (but I don’t)”. So be careful where you use this because the meaning appears to be highly regional.

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  • I am Australian but don't recall having heard "says you" in response to a compliment.
    – nnnnnn
    Sep 21, 2021 at 7:58
  • @nnnnnn most likely place you’ll see it or hear it in my experience is women complimenting each other - think responses to compliments on social media. I’m sure it’s not super common and I don’t hear it a great deal but it’s definitely there. Sep 21, 2021 at 8:01

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