What Does Blood Will Have Blood Mean?

Blood Will Have Blood Meaning

Definition: One violent action will often cause another.

Blood will have blood comes from a phrase meaning that a murder will avenge another murder. In casual speech, it can refer to any violent action.

This phrase is another way of stating the karmic rule of “what goes around comes around.” If you are unkind to another person, he or she will likely be unkind to you. If you refuse to help someone, he or she will probably not help you later. If you hurt someone—physically or emotionally—he or she may hurt you in return.

Origin of Blood Will Have Blood

it will have blood they say blood will have bloodWilliam Shakespeare coined this phrase in the play Macbeth. In the play, the character Macbeth murders others in a quest for power.

It will have blood, they say. Blood will have blood.

Stones have been known to move, and trees to speak.

Augurs and understood relations have

By magot pies and choughs and rooks brought forth

The secret’st man of blood.—What is the night?

He realizes, in act 3, that “blood will have blood”—he knows that he will have to suffer for his murders. Macbeth recognizes that just as he murdered people to gain power, others on a quest for power may murder him to gain what he has.

There is a vicious cycle of bloodshed and violence as a result of Macbeth’s actions.

Examples of Blood Will Have Blood

blood in macbeth quotesThis phrase is less common in speech than other idioms today. Most of the time, it is used to warn someone not to take a potentially harmful action.

For example, if someone wants to damage an ex-husband or ex-wife’s car in revenge, a friend who hears of the plan may tell him or her, “This is a bad idea. Blood will have blood.” The friend is using this phrase to warn his or her friend not to follow through with the plan because it could lead to escalating fighting and dangerous consequences.

This phrase could also be used by someone who wants to get revenge. If a person caught another stealing from him at work, he might choose to steal from that person in turn and say “blood will have blood” to justify their choice.

More Examples

  • Macbeth’s lament, “They say blood will have blood,” brings the violence to a climatic crescendo. Violence! –LA Times
  • As so often happens when ambition gets to o’erleaping, blood has had blood. –Orlando Sentinel


The English phrase blood will have blood warns that actions have consequences, and negative actions will have negative consequences.