give (one) the sack

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give (one) the sack

To fire someone from a job or task. The new secretary is so rude—I need to give her the sack. I tried so hard to do a good job in Mrs. Smith's garden, but she gave me the sack anyway.
See also: give, sack
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

sack, to get/give the

To be fired or dismissed from work; to fire someone. This slangy expression dates from the seventeenth century or even earlier, probably originating in France. In those days workmen provided their own tools and carried them in a bag—sac in French—which they took away with them upon leaving. The term appears in Randle Cotgrave’s dictionary of 1611, under sac (“On luy a donné son sac—said of a servant whom his master hath put away”), and a similar term was used in Dutch as well. A newer synonym is to get/give the ax, which dates from the second half of the 1800s and alludes to the executioner’s ax. Both expressions also have been reduced to verbs meaning “to fire”: to sack someone (“I got sacked this morning”), or to ax someone/something (“The board axed the proposal for a new school building”).
See also: get, give, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in classic literature ?
His employer immediately discharges him--'gives him the sack' is the technical phrase.
Paul finds Leo and Terese hugging and loses his cool - he throws Leo's clothes out and gives him the sack.
His family turn against him, Tony and Cindy stick the boot in and Neville gives him the sack. No wonder he succumbs to an internet gambling site.
When Ste again turns up late for work it proves to be the final straw for Tony who gives him the sack. Steph enjoys spending time with Fernando and wonders if she needs some passion in her life.
The chairman picks the team - and after a run of poor results the manager gives him the sack!
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