word to the wise
Also found in: Acronyms.
a word to the wise
A phrase that emphasizes a statement as advice. It is a shortening of the phrase "a word to the wise is sufficient," meaning that a wise or intelligent person can take a hint and does not need a long explanation. A word to the wise—don't use Amy's baby shower as an opportunity to announce your engagement. Stay away from the boss today, he's in a bad mood. Just a word to the wise.
word to the wise (is enough).and A word to the wise is sufficient.
Prov. You only have to hint something to wise people in order to get them to understand it.; Wise people do not need long explanations. (Often used to signal that you are hinting something.) John's a pleasant man, but I wouldn't trust him with money. A word to the wise, eh? Donna hinted about Lisa's drinking problem to Lisa's fiancé, hoping that a word to the wise would be enough.
word to the wise, a
This is good advice; you would do well to heed this. Several Roman writers put good advice in just this way, saying, “A word to the wise is enough” (Plautus, Terence). Ben Jonson used it in his play The Case Is Altered (ca. 1600): “Go to, a word to the wise.” A somewhat more recent equivalent, also a cliché, is words of wisdom.
See also: word