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pick up the hint

To understand, comprehend, or take notice of an indirect suggestion, implication, or insinuation. Halfway through the lecture, I picked up the hint my students were planning some kind of practical joke at the end of class. When are you going to pick up the hint that Sally doesn't want to date you anymore?
See also: hint, pick, up

take the hint

To understand, accept, or act upon a message or direction that has been insinuated or communicated indirectly. After an hour or so of being ignored, Jeremy finally took the hint and left the party. I think you need to take the hint and accept the fact that he has no interest in dating you.
See also: hint, take

Irish hint

A straightforward statement. I'm positive I'm getting the promotion—the boss gave me an Irish hint to that effect!
See also: hint, Irish

drop a hint

Fig. to give a tiny or careful hint about something. Mary dropped a hint that she wanted a new ring for her birthday.
See also: drop, hint

hint at something

to refer to something; to insinuate something. What are you hinting at? I am not hinting at anything. I am telling you to do it!
See also: hint

hint for something

to give a hint that something is wanted. I could tell she was hinting for an invitation. Are you hinting for a second helping of fried chicken?
See also: hint

hint something to someone

to give a hint or clue to someone. I thought she was leaving. She hinted that to me. She wasn't hinting anything to you! You made it all up!
See also: hint

take a hint

to understand a hint and behave accordingly. I said I didn't want to see you anymore. Can't you take a hint? I don't like you. Sure I can take a hint, but I'd rather be told directly.
See also: hint, take

drop a hint

to suggest something indirectly to someone I was hoping to see her again, so I dropped a hint, saying I wasn't doing anything this weekend.
See also: drop, hint

take a hint

also take the hint
to understand or do something that is communicated indirectly I can take a hint – if you don't want to talk about it, that's OK with me. “Weren't you going to check your messages?” she asked. I took the hint and left.
See also: hint, take

take a hint

Also, take the hint. Accept an indirect or covert suggestion, as in Evelyn took the hint and quietly left the room. This idiom was first recorded in 1711.
See also: hint, take
References in periodicals archive ?
New Delhi, March 16 (ANI): The poll prospects of 'Third Front' got a shot in the arm as a powerful regional party hinted at joining the group on Sunday.
Global Banking News-July 29, 2011--Brazil central bank has hinted that it could pause further rate hikes(C)2011 ENPublishing - http://www.
The intensity of hydrogen emission in the Hubble images hinted that several of the stars might qualify as cataclysmic variables.
The Bank of England has hinted that it would cut rates soon.
Daily News has hinted that the Clinton sex scandal could have played a part in the February 10 people's veto that drove a stake through the heart of Maine's gay rights law.
Some studies have hinted that mothers can pass HIV to an embryo or fetus in the womb or during delivery.
While many fans believe a direct correlation exists between Xenosaga(TM) and the preceding Xenogears, vice chairman of the board of directors at Monolith Software and director of the project, Tetsuya Takahashi, hinted at a possible lineage between the two games in a recent interview (www.
With btX, developers can render hinted, anti-aliased, and kerned characters, producing great looking text on screen.
com that Research in Motion (Toronto - RIM) will be a major player during 1999 and hinted that a television campaign may be launched later this year by this company to help educate the public about "email to go" on wireless data transmissions.