Word To The Wise


"Word to the wise" = "You should listen to this advice."


People usually use this expression to emphasize advice which

they are about to share, or which they have just shared.

Sandra:  "I heard you are going out with Tom on Saturday."

Ashley:   "Yeah. we're going to have dinner."

Sandra:  "Word to the wise, he's a womanizer.”

Ashley:   "Thanks for the heads up. I'll keep it in mind."


1. "A word to the wise" is a variant of "word to the wise."

2. Literature Reference: Author James Lee Burkes uses this expression in a 2017 short story for The Southern Review, "The Wild Side of Life," to have a character advise the protagonist against sleeping with a married woman: "'Word to the wise, Elmore.' he said... 'Don't be milking through the wrong fence.'"  

3. Media Reference #1: Journalist Jane E. Brody uses this expression in a February 18th, 2019 article for The New York Times, entitled "The Case Against Cough Medicine," to provide medical advice: "Coughs become especially troublesome when they linger for weeks on end or when a sudden tickle triggers a coughing fit in the middle of a play, concert or lecture. (Word to the wise: Always come equipped with cough drops that can be opened quietly and, if possible, a small bottle of water to squelch a disruptive cough that won’t quit on its own.)" (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/18/well/live/the-case-against-cough-medicine.html)


4. Media Reference #2: Entertainer Peter Sagal uses this expression in the July 24th, 2010 installment of NPR's gameshow "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!" to provide grooming advice: "You know, if somebody sees you, this is just a word to the wise, ladies and gentlemen, if someone sees you with your shirt off, and then makes a law banning the removal of shirts...it might be time for a chest wax, just saying." (https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128731292) (At 1 minutes and 11 seconds into the broadcast.) 

5. Media Reference #3:  Bob Odenkirk's character of "Jimmy McGill" uses this expression in season 4, episode 5 of the television series Better Call Saul ("Quite a Ride") to make a sales pitch: "And the one thing I learned from working with my clients in the New Mexico corrections system is that private conversations are few and far between. The man is always listening on those land lines, so ,word to the wise, uh, if you want to talk to your friends on the inside, there is a simple solution." (At 29 minutes and 49 seconds into the episode. Originally aired September 3rd, 2018.)

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