One Good Turn Deserves Another Meaning
Definition: If you help someone, that person is likely to help you later.
Origin of One Good Turn Deserves Another
This expression dates back to the 1400s. The word turn in this idiom doesn’t mean rotate, as it commonly does nowadays. Rather it means good deed.
Therefore, the idea behind this expression is that if one person does something kind, it is good to repay that kindness with a nice act of one’s own.
This idea of helping one and receiving help later in return is even older than the proverb. There are multiple fables that show a strong animal helping a weaker one, and then the weaker one helping the stronger one later.
One of these is about a lion that frees a mouse, and later the mouse helps the lion escape from a hunter’s net by chewing through the net.
Another similar fable is about an ant and a dove. The dove rescues an ant in danger of drowning, and later the ant warns the dove about a hunter.
Examples of One Good Turn Deserves Another
This example dialogue involves a husband and wife who are helping each other out at home.
Jennie: Wow! Did you vacuum the whole house? It looks amazing! Thank you!
Bobby: It’s nothing. I saw that you had rotated the tires for me on my truck, so I just wanted to repay the favor. I figure that one good turn deserves another.
Jennie: Well, I appreciate it!
Bobby: As do I!
Two friends are discussing a favor.
Andrew: I’m sorry to ask you this, but it’s an emergency. Can you give me a ride to the airport?
Aaron: Sure! I’d love to, just as I’m sure you’d love to help me move to my new house next weekend. After all, one good turn deserves another, right?
This excerpt is the headline of an article about how a pet protected its family.
- One good turn deserves another: St. Bernard fends off intruder… hours after family rescues him from shelter –Daily Mail
The second excerpt is from an article about the jerseys for a team.
- “When we were looking at the design of the jersey, a sponsor banner across the front, he wasn’t bothered about his own name,” she said. “One good turn deserves another. We looked at giving a local charity some exposure.” –The Irish News
The phrase one good turn deserves another means people often repay kindness with kindness.