give (one) to understand

(redirected from give him to understand)

give (one) to understand

To cause one to understand or believe something. Why should I worry? The boss has never given me to understand that she's displeased with my work.
See also: give, understand
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

give someone to understand something

to explain something to someone; to imply something to someone. (Possibly misleading someone, accidentally or intentionally. See also given to understand.) Mr. Smith gave Sally to understand that she should be home by midnight. The mayor gave the citizens to understand that there would be no tax increase. He didn't promise, though.
See also: give, understand

given to understand

[of someone] made to believe [something]. (See also give someone to understand.) They were given to understand that there would be no tax increase, but after the election taxes went up. She was given to understand that she had to be home by midnight.
See also: given, understand
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

give to understand

Lead one to think, as in I was given to understand that the President was coming here. [Mid-1500s]
See also: give, understand
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in classic literature ?
Yet I do my part to save him still: I give him to understand that drinking makes his eyes dull, and his face red and bloated; and that it tends to render him imbecile in body and mind; and if Annabella were to see him as often as I do, she would speedily be disenchanted; and that she certainly will withdraw her favour from him, if he continues such courses.