Why do we say "He who pays the piper calls the tune.

Well-Known Expressions

He who pays the piper calls the tune

Meaning:

Decisions are made by those who are in financial control

Background:

This expression is first recorded in the 17th century and thus could be a reference to the English version of the legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin (published in English in 1605). However, the parallels to this expression in other European languages cause many to suggest that it predates the fable and is more literal than figurative - that is to say, the person who pays the musician has influence over what he plays.

Alphabetical list of expressions

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