give pause

Idioms & Phrases

give pause

Cause one to hesitate, as in The high monthly installment payments gave me pause, or, as Shakespeare put it in Hamlet (3:1): "For in that sleep of death what dreams may come ... Must give us pause." [c. 1600]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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