give (someone) heart failure

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give (someone) 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
References in classic literature ?
Bottled beer stood under a shelf, and there were two bags of haricot beans and some limp lettuces.
In the place of the fowl a dish of haricot beans made its appearance--an enormous dish in which some bones of mutton that at first sight one might have believed to have some meat on them pretended to show themselves.
IT was two o'clock when I returned to my lodgings; my dinner, just brought in from a neighbouring hotel, smoked on the table; I sat down thinking to eat--had the plate been heaped with potsherds and broken glass, instead of boiled beef and haricots, I could not have made a more signal failure: appetite had forsaken me.