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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. 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 ?
Collected over the years, every one of the 101 hints in this video program has been tested and carries the Heloise seal of approval.
For physicists hoping that supersymmetry will take the field beyond the standard model, the LEP events are "a very encouraging hint," Carena says.
Tully's Full City Roast--rich and perfectly roasted with a smooth aroma and a hint of citrus and spice flavors--smooth finish.
study also hints that active infection with the Epstein-Barr virus greatly exacerbates the cancer risk of PCBs.
Site visitors will see seasonal and specialized hints utilizing an "ingredient" of the month, and will even have the option to have hints from Heloise e-mailed directly to their in-boxes.
The new work hints at another mechanism, however, one that involves the lasting legacy of pregnancy, she says.
Mac OS X Hints is the industry's leading site for Mac-related tips and tricks, and Rob is a leading Mac expert.
This look represents "effortless beauty" and can be created with hints of soft colors on lips, cheeks and eyes.
Two research teams report hints that a second planet may orbit 51 Pegasi.
In addition to GameSpot's game reviews, screenshots, game play movies, hints, cheats, and tips, AOL members will have access to selected content from the GameSpot Complete premium service.
and his colleagues had hints that the KAI1 gene on chromosome 11 retards cancer's lethal movement.
Priced at $32 a bottle suggested retail and aged eighteen months in French Oak, it is considered among the most superb, complex Pinot Noirs marked by an alluring aroma and shaded with hints of oriental spice, wild strawberry and cherries.
A second study hints that such supplements might benefit people with a precancerous condition.
GameShark is the industry leader in video game enhancement software, which enables players to take full advantage of the secret codes, short cuts, hints and cheats incorporated by video game publishers into their game offerings.
24 LANCET, hints at estrogen's role in promoting breast cancer but is not sufficient to establish a clear link between birth weight and a future cancer risk.