What do you call an action (a verb word) to describe a verbal action in which you mention your good deeds to someone else that you did for them in the past, to remind that person of what you have done to them, so they will feel really bad about it?

In my country, we have this idiom that if it's translated (literally) into English will sound like this:

To bob up and down.

We, in our country, use this phrase in the purpose of when we ask for some help from someone, but in this case the person we have helped don't want to help us, not that they can't or are unable to do it, but it seems like they don't want to. We will use it as a verbal attack as if expecting them to help us anyway, but usually if they change their mind and finally want to help us, we would likely say "Nevermind, I don't need your help anymore and I will figure this out myself". However, some people might still accept the offer.

I have tried to use Google Translate and it says:

To bring (something) up

I'm still unsure as this translation phrase above (to bring X up), IMO sounds to arise problems or something and not as sounds like a phrase I wish to know. Anyway, is there a single word for this in English? Or at least a phrasal verb or an idiom?

I also forgot to mention that whoever does this, that verbal action, will be considered as people that are not genuine or simply fake people.

To illustrate this phrase, I'd try my best to make up a story

A: Would you please come to my wedding party tomorrow B?

B: I can't.

A: Do you even consider me as a sibling of yours? Did you forget when I helped you the other day? And I only ask you to come to my party but you say no? Are you even a human?

B: (silent)

I hope that makes sense. I'm actually trying to write a small story to help me to polish up my vocabulary. And I'm stuck at this part. Finding the correct word as to what I've described.

P.s. If you are still unsure about what I'm describing, please do let me know in the comment.

  • Do you mean "bob up and down", like something floating in water? If so, the "bob" doesn't have a capital letter. That's only for people with the name "Bob".
    – gotube
    Aug 22, 2022 at 14:23
  • @gotube Edited thanks. I'm unsure about whether I choose that word correctly, I'm using a bi dictionary and it's really difficult to find a word when I only know the sense or the definition. Perhaps it's a typo or something else. It's more like when I try to move something with a lever.
    – user516076
    Aug 22, 2022 at 14:35
  • It makes perfect sense to me that someone trying to get you to notice how much they've helped you in the past might be similar to something bobbing up and down in water. I find it hilarious, in fact, so I'm hoping that's the correct translation. "To bob up and down" is the most natural way to express something moving up and down on water. Would you mind saying what language the original expression is from?
    – gotube
    Aug 22, 2022 at 14:40
  • 1
    In the movies you will frequently observe one character telling another: You owe me (this), meaning that I have done you a favour (or favours) and now I need you to do one for me. Aug 22, 2022 at 16:25

1 Answer 1


I do not know of any idiom in English at all similar in meaning to the one described in the question. If I had to select an idiom for the actions of A in the dialog in the qwuestion, I would day that A

laid a guilt trip on B.

But that carries a strong negative implication, suggesting that A's acts were both rude and immoral. That is not how I understand the requested idiom. I rather think that there is no idiom in English that fits the request. If there is, I have not noticed it.

  • I forgot to add this. (+1 from me) Technically you are correct the A's acts were indeed rude and immoral.
    – user516076
    Aug 22, 2022 at 23:52

You must log in to answer this question.

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