give someone the business
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give someone the business (third-person singular simple present gives someone the business, present participle giving someone the business, simple past gave someone the business, past participle given someone the business)
- (idiomatic, dated) To treat someone harshly or in a wrongful manner, such as by abusing, deceiving, or manipulating.
- (idiomatic, dated) To harangue, criticize vigorously, berate, or ridicule someone.
- 1945 November 26, “Religion: Canterbury Red”, in Time:
- The Red Dean's utterances, as usual, got on some people's nerves. The irreverent New York Daily News gave him the business, in a full-column editorial, ending; "Nobody curbs these whizbangs in the United States or England, where they are free to be as nutty as their capacities will permit."
- 1973, Rita Mae Brown, Rubyfruit Jungle (1977 Randlom House edition), →ISBN, p. 149:
- Then the kids at school started giving me the business about being a fairy, called me the African Queen.