give the word

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give (someone) the word

To give an order, make a request, or expressly state a desire for someone to do something or undertake some task. We're ready to begin writing the report whenever you are, so just give us the word, and we'll get going. If the President gives the word, the military could begin airstrikes as early as tomorrow morning.
See also: give, word

give the word

Also, say the word. Give an order, tell or show when something is to be done, as in If you want us to move out, just give the word, or When you want the car, just say the word. The first expression, dating from about 1400, originally alluded to uttering a password in response to a sentinel's challenge. The second is even older, appearing in an early translation of the biblical books of Genesis and Exodus: "And God said the word to Abraham."
See also: give, word
References in classic literature ?
Mind you, start at the word 'away'" Here he took his position by the stile, paused a moment as if in profound reflection, then looked up and, I thought, smiled very slightly, then tightened the strings of his apron, then took a long look at Dammit, and finally gave the word as agreed upon-
barely audible in the distance) gave the word for the last time:
If I gave the word to go about, they would rise at once.
Now there was a sword that cut off an enemy's head whenever the wearer gave the words, 'Heads off
1814: The Marquis de Sade, French aristocrat whose perverted lifestyle gave the word sadism to the language, died in an asylum.
Thirty minutes after the park superintendent gave the word, Placerita Canyon Nature Center's volunteers and staff members had loaded cars and vans with dozens of flying and crawling animals, ready to evacuate them from the advancing Cross Fire.
Spelling gave the word now to his ``MP'' cast and crew so they would have time to look for work during the just-heating-up pilot season, when networks produce sample shows for consideration as fall series.