balance the books
- (idiomatic, accounting) To add up all the debits and credits.
- To put or keep any closed or conservative system or its analysis in balance.
1992, Margaret Walworth; Donald F. Moores, Terrence J. O'Rourke, A Free Hand: Enfranchising the Education of Deaf Children, page 155:
- Let us not balance the books of oppression of the deaf on the backs and minds of other oppressed linguistic ethnic and cultural minorities.
2007, John Gribbin, The Origins of the Future, page 76:
- If you want to make a negatively charged particle, such as an electron, out of energy, you also have to make a positively charged particle to balance the books.
2003, T. J. MacGregor, Black Water:
- When you broke one of his rules, you had to sacrifice something to earn forgiveness or to balance the books.