Posted by R. Berg on July 03, 2004
In Reply to: Give away the game posted by Bruce Kahl on July 03, 2004
: : : Need Help!
: : : "Business managers should not give away the farm - they should not divluge information that could damage themselves."
: : : What does "give away the farm" mean?
: : : Thanks!
: : This is not clear to me. 'Buy the farm' means die, originally in military action. It could be extended to mean condemn oneself. 'Give the game away' means reveal what happened. Perhaps the writer has fused, or confused, the two phrases. Any other ideas?
: The phrase "don't give away the farm" can be looked at from a negotiation point of view.
: For instance, if you are anxiously selling your home and you have it listed for $499k and a buyer offers you $425k you are tempted to close the deal but you should not "give away the farm" so quickly without first negotiating a little more.
I think the writer has indeed confused or merged two phrases. "Don't bet the farm" is a traditional caution to someone who's going out to a poker game or some other form of gambling. It means don't get carried away and risk your homestead on a hand of cards. It has figurative uses that parallel its literal one. "Give away the game" refers to revealing strategic secrets, as explained above.