give (someone) the business

(redirected from gave them the business)

give (someone) the business

1. To subject someone to harsh treatment, teasing, mockery, or verbal harassment. The older players on the team are always giving younger players the business. Protesters gave the defendant the business as he left the court today.
2. To severely scold, punish, or rebuke someone. I know my boss is going to give me the business when she finds out I lost our most lucrative account. Jimmy's parents gave him the business after he broke the living room lamp.
See also: business, give