a word to the wise


Also found in: Acronyms.

a word to the wise

A phrase that emphasizes a statement as advice. It is a shortening of the phrase "a word to the wise is sufficient," meaning that a wise or intelligent person can take a hint and does not need a long explanation. A word to the wise—don't use Amy's baby shower as an opportunity to announce your engagement. Stay away from the boss today, he's in a bad mood. Just a word to the wise.
See also: wise, word

a word to the wise

a good piece of advice; a word of wisdom. (See also .) If I can give you a word to the wise, I would suggest going to the courthouse about an hour before your trial. Here is a word to the wise. Keep your eyes open and your mouth shut.
See also: wise, word

word to the wise (is enough).

 and A word to the wise is sufficient.
Prov. You only have to hint something to wise people in order to get them to understand it.; Wise people do not need long explanations. (Often used to signal that you are hinting something.) John's a pleasant man, but I wouldn't trust him with money. A word to the wise, eh? Donna hinted about Lisa's drinking problem to Lisa's fiancé, hoping that a word to the wise would be enough.
See also: wise, word

word to the wise, a

Here's good advice, as in A word to the wise: don't walk alone here because these streets are not safe at night. A shortening of A word to the wise is enough, as it was put by Roman writers, this phrase in English dates from the mid-1500s.
See also: word

a word to the wise

a hint or brief explanation given, that being all that is required.
The equivalent Latin phrase is verbum sapienti sat est (a word to the wise is enough); the abbreviation of this, verb. sap ., is sometimes used in English.
1983 Penelope Lively Perfect Happiness A word to the wise. If you don't know the place I'm told the thing to do is steer clear of the guided tours.
See also: wise, word

a ˌword to the ˈwise

used to introduce some advice, especially when only a few words are necessary: The band are now touring the UK. A word to the wise though — make sure you book tickets early.
See also: wise, word

word to the wise, a

This is good advice; you would do well to heed this. Several Roman writers put good advice in just this way, saying, “A word to the wise is enough” (Plautus, Terence). Ben Jonson used it in his play The Case Is Altered (ca. 1600): “Go to, a word to the wise.” A somewhat more recent equivalent, also a cliché, is words of wisdom.
See also: word