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A word to the wise

Posted by Henry on November 07, 2003

In Reply to: A word to the wise posted by Lewis on November 07, 2003

: : what exactly does this mean?

: It is an expression used to politely give advice to somebody who may not like being told what to do. Somebody might say "A word to the wise..." in hushed or conspitatorial tone to somebody else.
: The implication is that the hearer is regarded as already being "wise" and so the information is only to improve their judgment on a particular issue.

: Often it is said before warning somebody of something unknown, obscured or semi-secret eg. "A word to the wise - Susan and John are no longer living under the same roof." or "A word to the wise - check out clause 4 of their contract" or "A word to the wise - you might like to consider ICI shares this month".

I've usually heard this phrase from senior management when they mean, "I like things done this way!" I've always found it inhibiting and threatening, with the sense, "If you value your job, do it like this!"