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give someone heart failure

Frighten or startle someone very much, as in You nearly gave me heart failure when you told me you were quitting . It is also put as have heart failure , meaning “be frightened or startled,” as in I just about had heart failure when I heard about her accident . These hyperbolic terms allude to the life-threatening physical condition in which the heart fails to pump blood at an adequate rate or stops altogether. Also see heart misses a beat
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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