break it to (one)(redirected from to break it to them)
break it to (one)
To deliver unfortunate or upsetting news to one. Sarah's been working on this project for months, so let's try to break it to her gently that the bosses have decided to scrap it. Look, I hate to break it to you, but Molly doesn't want anything to do with you anymore. Who's going to be the one to break it to Jeff that he's being fired?
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
break it (to someone) gently, to
To reveal bad news in a calm, soothing fashion. “With a design to break the matter gently to his partners,” wrote John Arbuthnot in 1712. In time the verb to break in the sense of “to tell” incorporated the idea of “gently,” making the cliché a tautology.
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer