give (someone) the third degree

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give (someone) the third degree

To interrogate, scrutinize, or question someone intensely or thoroughly. My boyfriend is so controlling, always giving me the third degree if I go anywhere or see anyone without him. The police gave me the third degree regarding my whereabouts during the crime.
See also: degree, give, third

give someone the third degree

If someone gives you the third degree, they ask you a lot of questions in a determined manner. He told the operator his wife was having a baby on the pavement. The operator gave him the third degree to make sure he was serious. The interviewer didn't exactly give her the third degree.
See also: degree, give, someone, third
References in classic literature ?
On a dark, misty, raw morning in January, I had left a hostile roof with a desperate and embittered heart--a sense of outlawry and almost of reprobation- to seek the chilly harbourage of Lowood: that bourne so far away and unexplored.
But the singular appearance of his companion and his attendants, arrested their attention and excited their wonder, and they could scarcely attend to the Prior of Jorvaulx' question, when he demanded if they knew of any place of harbourage in the vicinity; so much were they surprised at the half monastic, half military appearance of the swarthy stranger, and at the uncouth dress and arms of his Eastern attendants.
It is Christmas Eve," says he, "I mark the date; here I sit alone on a rude couch of rushes, sheltered by the thatch of a herdsman's hut; I, whose inheritance was a kingdom, owe my night's harbourage to a poor serf; my throne is usurped, my crown presses the brow of an invader; I have no friends; my troops wander broken in the hills of Wales; reckless robbers spoil my country; my subjects lie prostrate, their breasts crushed by the heel of the brutal Dane.
It didn't help that, a couple of months later, I got another job which required me to give her the third degree on where it all went wrong with Va-ness-a.
When she came home, I would give her the third degree as I was so terrified I'd lose her.