give them hell

(redirected from give 'em hell!)

give (one) hell

1. To give someone a hard time by means of aggressive actions or attitude. I'd avoid the boss today—he's already given me hell.
2. To scold or reprimand someone, often severely. Mom will give you hell if you come home after curfew yet again.
3. To produce or present problems or challenges for one. This discrepancy in the budget is really giving me hell—I still haven't figured it out.
See also: give, hell

give them hell

An exclamation of encouragement for someone who is about to participate in something, often a competition, that is intended to motivate them to give their maximum effort in order to defeat their opponent ("them") or achieve success within that arena. "Them" is often shortened to "'em" or "em." Good luck out there, Dara! Give them hell! A: "I just don't know if I'm cut out for college." B: "Nonsense! You're gonna give 'em hell!"
See also: give, hell
References in classic literature ?
"Then under the bottom, wi' the best o' luck an' give 'em hell!" cried a young fellow who had been in the trenches.
"Give 'em hell!" I hollered as my student and I floated to the deck during a sliding landing demonstration.
All the hair on the back of my neck stood up, I grinned and had to fight hard to stop myself yelling: "Go on, lads, give 'em hell!"
I say, give 'em hell! Just be sure to mind your manners while you're doing it.
"We know that they will do us all proud, so good luck, and from one winning team to another, give 'em hell!"