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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 ?
Delta hinting involves fine-tuning fonts so that they look good on the screen, even at small point sizes on low-resolution devices, such as computer monitors.
Delta hinting involves fine tuning fonts so that they look good on the screen, even at small point sizes on low-resolution devices, such as computer monitors.
CHRIS FROOME has revealed he could well sign up for the 2015 Tour de France - despite initially hinting at a reluctance to compete.
The central bank of Brazil has noted changes in the inflation outlook, hinting that it could pause rates soon.
SIMON Cowell's ex Sinitta has been hinting at juicy secrets in his holiday harem.
London, Nov 17 (ANI): With Christmas coming up, most men are facing a lot of stress trying to find the perfect gift for their better half, and a study has suggested listening to the four hinting styles women use, will definitely help.
Sculptures have always accompanied paintings in Scheibitz's shows, but merely as footnotes, serving as reminders of the artist's woodworking days at the Dresden Academy and hinting that there's more to his painting than meets the eye.
After months of hinting at a rate hike, Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan finally announced a rate hike last month, pushing mortgage rates to just below 8 percent.
Monotype Imaging's patent-pending technique for enabling the clear display of scalable East Asian characters without bitmaps involves a new method of character fine-tuning - or hinting - to ensure the on-screen legibility of text from 14 to 50 pixels per em.
These are the first data hinting that we may be onto something important.
Also included are file hinting for streaming applications and 3GPP mobile phones.