give (one) heart failure

(redirected from gave them heart failure)

give (one) heart failure

To shock, frighten, or upset someone suddenly and to an extreme degree. Often used with "nearly," "almost," or some similar modifier. Adrian almost gave his parents heart failure when he told them he was dropping out of college. You about gave me heart failure, sneaking up on me like that!
See also: failure, give, heart

give someone heart failure

Frighten or startle someone very much, as in You nearly gave me heart failure when you told me you were quitting. It is also put as have heart failure, meaning "be frightened or startled," as in I just about had heart failure when I heard about her accident. These hyperbolic terms allude to the life-threatening physical condition in which the heart fails to pump blood at an adequate rate or stops altogether. Also see heart misses a beat.
See also: failure, give, heart, someone
References in periodicals archive ?
He gave them heart failure by pretending to have already headed south and just reached Birmingham, before admitting he was still at Ayr and returning the booty to a mightily relieved racecourse office.