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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 ?
me de cassis, violets and chocolate box not plus hints of lilacs, raspberry leaves, anise and cardamom.
Consequently, we also incorporated scaffolding instruction into the online test, where hints were applied to scaffold students.
There's plenty of nectarine plus hints of tangerine.
The Hints Book Almanac is available for purchase online through the authors' websites, from Amazon.
No pun intended but pun intended, readers are just rabid about the pet hints," the columnist quipped.
Perhaps we are doing as Florence did, we are giving hints when we teach, and the real teaching lies within the student.
But here the rhizome's fragile network seemed to dissolve and disperse on sight, leaving the (arguably conservative) viewer to grasp for hints of all-encompassing meaning.
Stored for at least two years in small French and American oak barrels (a few of them charred barrels for a hint of smoke) before being blended together, Cuervo's Reserva de la Familia ($100) flaunts a deep amber hue, with a floral aroma of sweetness mixed with hints of citrus.
this obviously describes various hints for using the phases of the Moon for your rituals and spells.
88 Not one of the world's smoothest -- something of an acquired taste, with hints of plum my fruitiness at the finish.
The five-song EP starts with a near flawless power pop song, "Once a Week" and ends with a Jonathan Richman song, "She's Cracked," The two female vocalists harmonize perfectly and the music contains hints of The Pixies, The Breeders, and The Slingbacks.
If Portia hints and cheats, she is subverting the conditions of her father's will; the notion that he wished for her to do so contradicts the facts of the play.
Here are the best hints for avoiding the mean guilts and keeping co-worker envy and resentment at a manageable level.
Need a hint: Gives hints about what may be wrong with the page without completely mining the challenge