pick up the tab


1. pay for something






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left me to pick up the tab

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This informal expression means to pay the total cost of something, especially when it is not your responsibility to do so. For example, if you and a group of friends go out for a meal somewhere, you are only responsible for paying for what you have consumed, but if you 'pick up the tab,' you pay for everyone within your group. This can be done voluntarily as a reward or act of kindness, or begrudgingly if you are left to do it. It is more commonly used in a social setting but can be used professionally, especially with regards to providing funding for something. A similar expression is 'foot the bill.'

Check Icon Social Examples (Basic)

  1. I couldn't believe it when Steve and Helen invited me out for dinner and then left me to pick up the tab!
  2. When private funding fell through, tax payers were left to pick up the tab for the new health centre.

Check Icon Professional Examples (Basic)

  1. After making the deadline, all the staff went out for a celebratory drink. Our boss very generously picked up the tab.
  2. Since you sustained your injury at work, the company will be picking up the tab for your medical expenses.

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