In my mother language there is a proverb which says: "someone who digs the well, is at the end of the well himself." [direct translation] It is used when someone is going to do something bad to someone else and than bad intention turns to a bad happening to himself. E.g. someone is standing beside a swimming pool and when his friend decides to push him into the pool, the friends foot slides and he falls into the pool himself. I have found a proverb here:

  • The biter is sometimes bitten.

I was wondering if someone could let me know if it works here in AmE or not. If not, then please let me know what an AE native speaker would say in my scenario?

  • 1
    "The biter is sometimes bitten" is a very accurate proverb for what you are saying. In one word this would be called "irony" or "ironic" for the person who tried to push somebody else into the pool but then also fell in. I cannot think of a good phrase for it though. So I'll leave this as a comment.
    – X_Wera
    Jan 18, 2017 at 10:55
  • "That's so ironic." Or, as we used to say in the 90's, "Isn't it ironic? Don't you think?". But this is just a joke, since some would say that this song had been an incorrect use of the word, "ironic". Jan 18, 2017 at 11:15
  • A very old quip that still has currency also in AmE is "hoist by his own petard" ("blown up by his own bomb" in Elizabethan English).
    – TimR
    Jan 18, 2017 at 12:36
  • 2
    The idiomatic version of "the proverb" is the biter bit (that's an estimated 14400 written instances in Google Books, compared to just 32 for the biter is sometimes bitten). But there are many alternative expressions in this area, including to get a taste of one's own medicine. Jan 18, 2017 at 17:39
  • 1
    You might be interested in Just-world hypothesis which also includes some phrases.
    – user3169
    Jan 18, 2017 at 22:14

2 Answers 2


A common expression (where I'm from at least) used to describe a situation as you have described is:

What goes around, comes around.

In other words, what you do to others, whether good or bad, will come back around to you too.

  • You always post the answers I'm thinking of :D. I had been trying to recall this one :D. Thanks! Jan 23, 2017 at 7:25

He got what he deserved.

She had it coming [to her].

"[That's] karma [for you]."

"Ah, poetic justice."

"You reap what you sow."

  • Karma is not what I'm looking for, though it works properly here @Teacher KSHaung. I'm looking for an AmE proverb. :)
    – A-friend
    Jan 18, 2017 at 11:07
  • My point is, the word has entered mainstream culture and can be used colloquially to say, "That's karma for you." @A-friend. Jan 18, 2017 at 11:08
  • 1
    @A-friend. I updated the link for karma. Click it and you'll see it being used by a very famous American about a very famous event. The article is British, but the source of the quote had been American. Jan 18, 2017 at 11:12
  • 1
    @A-friend I've added another one to the list. Jan 18, 2017 at 11:20
  • @A-friend I've added another one to the list. This new one is usually negative, but it might also answer your other question here.. Jan 24, 2017 at 9:13

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .