give them 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 ?
So Martin thought, and so he spoke when Brissenden urged him to give them hell. He obeyed the mandate, walking up to the platform, as was the custom, and addressing the chairman.
Hence the loud, indignant insistence on 'sovereignty', said an experienced lawyer to his young apprentice, 'If you are weak in law, stress the facts; if you are weak in facts, stress the law; but if you are weak in both facts and law, give them hell!' The way India has been giving hell to all its critics would please that lawyer.'
"That won't happen or we'll give them hell. There is a beautiful story abt human beings saving other human beings.
Cone will have an idea, more or less, on how his Kings will fare here, with the Texters no pushovers and certain to give them hell, more so since TNT will be coming off a loss to Rain or Shine.
I'M A LUCKY D: PAGE 42 "We want to go to the best teams in the world and give them hell - in Manchester, in London, wherever.
"Stand to It and Give Them Hell": Gettysburg as the Soldiers Experienced it From Cemetery Ridge to Little Round Top, July 2, 1863 (reprint, 2014)
The answer is that we can't and when they are knocking on your door for the local elections give them hell.
"It will be a pleasure to have them here but for the 90 minutes we want to give them hell," said the caretaker manager.
One of the lads' leaders on picket duty said: "We may have lost the bsttle yesterday, but we haven't lost the Iwar-and if it's war they want we'll give them hell"
To put it in the vernacular, if we don't give them hell now they will give us hell later.
'We've got to get at them and give them hell,' said Wales' number one, fresh from a performance that made him a candidate for Wales man of the match at Old Trafford.
As any full-blooded Scot knows, the one thing you must do after a hard night on the tiles is get up there the next morning, pretend you're feeling great and give them hell.
Later, with the battle cry "Give them hell!" he incites a crowd to riot, keeping the cops busy while the guys in tights attack the center of power.
He said: "We'll be ready for them and we're going to give them hell."
The people would call their legislators and give them hell. One by one we picked them off .