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pick up the hint

To understand, comprehend, or take notice of an indirect suggestion, implication, or insinuation. Halfway through the lecture, I picked up the hint my students were planning some kind of practical joke at the end of class. When are you going to pick up the hint that Sally doesn't want to date you anymore?
See also: hint, pick, up

take the hint

To understand, accept, or act upon a message or direction that has been insinuated or communicated indirectly. After an hour or so of being ignored, Jeremy finally took the hint and left the party. I think you need to take the hint and accept the fact that he has no interest in dating you.
See also: hint, take

Irish hint

A straightforward statement. I'm positive I'm getting the promotion—the boss gave me an Irish hint to that effect!
See also: hint, Irish

take a hint

To understand, accept, or act upon a message or direction that has been insinuated or communicated indirectly. Don't worry, I can take a hint. I won't try to hang out with you anymore. I think you need to take a hint and accept the fact that he has no interest in dating you.
See also: hint, take

drop a hint

To allude to something in a subtle way; to give an indication of something without entirely saying it. Phil can be a little dense, so just tell him what you want for your birthday—you'll never get it if you only drop a hint.
See also: drop, hint

drop a hint

Fig. to give a tiny or careful hint about something. Mary dropped a hint that she wanted a new ring for her birthday.
See also: drop, hint

hint at something

to refer to something; to insinuate something. What are you hinting at? I am not hinting at anything. I am telling you to do it!
See also: hint

hint for something

to give a hint that something is wanted. I could tell she was hinting for an invitation. Are you hinting for a second helping of fried chicken?
See also: hint

hint something to someone

to give a hint or clue to someone. I thought she was leaving. She hinted that to me. She wasn't hinting anything to you! You made it all up!
See also: hint

take a hint

to understand a hint and behave accordingly. I said I didn't want to see you anymore. Can't you take a hint? I don't like you. Sure I can take a hint, but I'd rather be told directly.
See also: hint, take

take a hint

Also, take the hint. Accept an indirect or covert suggestion, as in Evelyn took the hint and quietly left the room. This idiom was first recorded in 1711.
See also: hint, take

drop a hint (or drop hints)

let fall a hint or hints, as if casually or unconsciously.
See also: drop, hint

drop a ˈhint (to somebody)


drop somebody a ˈhint

suggest something in an indirect way: He tried to drop a hint about it being time to leave, but they didn’t seem to take any notice.She’s dropped me a few hints about what she’d like for her birthday.
See also: drop, hint

take a/the ˈhint

understand what somebody wants you to do, even though they tell you in an indirect way: She yawned and said, ‘Goodness, it’s late.’ ‘OK,’ said Pete, ‘I can take a hint. I’ll go now.’Sarah hoped he’d take the hint and leave her alone.
See also: hint, take
References in periodicals archive ?
Scaffolding can be presented as several ways, among which hints are one of the most useful ways (Devolder, van Braak, & Tondeur, 2012).
It was a decent six-furlong heat that Secret Hint claimed at Headquarters but her three-quarter-length verdict ensured the handicapper could not go too mad and a 4lb rise certainly does not look insurmountable.
There's plenty of nectarine plus hints of tangerine.
O HINT contem 12 listas de 20 sentencas cada uma, digitalmente gravadas que podem ser apresentadas no silencio e no ruido, e que sao padronizadas quanto a lingua, dificuldade, inteligibilidade e distribuicao fonetica.
Alagiri had openly resented such hints, saying he would not accept anyone else other than his father as leader.
If that is a hint, it is the sort of hint that a child might give regarding Christmas presents, ie, strapping oneself into a dentist''s chair, using a Clockwork I could have Artex Orange-style device to keep one''s eyes open, while he or she stabs a tiny finger at various pictures in the Argos catalogue.
Nature with a hint of naughty Chocolate--A rich blend of fruit & nut with a naughty hint of dark chocolate drops.
At the time Florence Nightingale--the first nurse researcher, the first nurse educator--knew more about nursing than anyone else, yet she gave herself credit for only giving "some hints," and the nurse will "teach herself.
The researchers also found hints that type la supernovas haven't changed over time.
Vanilla and hints of spun sugar fill the nostril, while rich caramel lingers on the tongue for a crisp, stunning finish.
Hint Hint formed a little over two years ago with the intention of only sharing their handful of songs with friends, until Derek Fudesco of Pretty Girls Make Graves liked what he heard and suggested the band finish the demos and release the EP on his new label with Dim Mak's Steve Aioki.
One purchasing agent cites the adverse impact of the run-up in metals prices and the imposition of surcharges; supplier delivery times, in contrast, are unchanged and offer little hint of looming price pressures.
The G7's official communique, though blandly written as always, nonetheless gave a hint of the problem, calling simultaneously for the vaguely contradictory objectives of currency stability and flexibility.