English Idiom – Rob Peter to pay Paul.

Meaning – To solve a problem in a way that makes another problem worse. If you rob Peter to pay Paul you borrow money from one person to pay another person – you are simply moving the problem rather than solving the problem. To incur a debt in order to pay off another debt.


When could you use this idiom?

  • Somebody asks you to lend them money, so they can pay off another debt.
  • A person is paying off a debt with a credit card.
  • Your football team needs to sign successful new players but can only do so by selling successful existing players.


  • “I won’t lend you anymore money. I know you are skint, but you can’t keep borrowing money from me to pay your debts. You are robbing Peter to pay Paul!”

In The News:

“We quickly realized that it wasn’t sustainable (or recommended!) to ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ so we pulled the trigger on three new tanks including our two largest to date…”


  • Is there an idiom like this in your country?

What is an idiom?

An idiom is a word or phrase that is not taken literally.  An idiom is an expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its individual words, but has a separate meaning of its own.

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