Are there any idioms in English that express something like:

If you try to sabotage someone's life or work, someday the same thing will happen to you

  • 2
    Can you edit your question to give further explanation? It isn't entirely clear what you mean. – LMS Aug 2 '16 at 18:44
  • I do not know what the context is, but I think the word "karma" describes such a process! – Cardinal Aug 2 '16 at 18:49
  • Hi Cardinal - seems like karma is the best option,thanks – Masterpiece.beta Aug 2 '16 at 18:54
  • Your welcome, however, adding some context or sentences that reflects your intentions would be really helpful. – Cardinal Aug 2 '16 at 19:03
  • Some people will regard it as some kind of retribution. – David Washington Jun 15 '17 at 13:04

As @Cardinal says, "karma" is one way to describe this. Specifically, "karmic justice" is a common phrase used to refer to some justice or punishment dealt by the universe (or the gods) as a response to malicious actions.

You may also be looking for phrases such as:

You will have your judgment day.

"Judgment day" makes reference to when a person dies and is judged by a god or gods. Depending on the judgment, that person may or may not be admitted to heaven (or the equivalent in that religion) and may instead be sent to hell (or the equivalent).

There are also phrases without religious undertones, such as:

What goes around comes around.

This is the same concept (if you do something bad to someone, you will have something equally bad done to you), but without reference to any specific system of belief.

  • 4
    And there's the useful vulgarism "Your mistakes/errors/faults/sins/etc will come back and bite you in the ass. – StoneyB on hiatus Aug 2 '16 at 19:06
  • 2
    @StoneyB I remember something like "he must pay the piper", but I am not sure that is fine (or correct) here. – Cardinal Aug 2 '16 at 19:33
  • 1
    @Cardinal Yes; that version derives from the story of the pied piper of Hameln. The older version looks at it from the other side: "He who pays the piper calls the tune". – StoneyB on hiatus Aug 2 '16 at 20:49
  • There are some good answers in these comments :) – Morgen Aug 3 '16 at 15:30

A common one is:

You reap what you sow


There are countless aphorisms in English which express this wisdom. Examples are:

What goes around comes around.

And my favorite, from the Nigerian patois:

Who shits in the road will meet flies on his return.


Нe who mischief hatches mischief catches;

One ill turn deserves another.

Curses (like chickens) come home to roost.

These are idioms (sayings) corresponding to your example.


While translated from the Greek, it's still fairly common in one form or another in English.

Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.