the business

Idioms & Phrases

the business

  1. Verbal abuse, scolding, or teasing; also, a beating. For example, At boarding school new kids always get the business, or The boxer faked and then gave his opponent the business. [Slang; c. 1940]

  2. A harsh interrogation, as in The detectives gave each suspect the business. [Slang; c. 1940]

  3. Dismissal from work or jilting, as in Once the new management takes over I'm sure to get the business, or Dorothy gave him the business and married someone else. [Slang; c. 1940]

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