verb (past gave /gāv/; past participle given /ˈgivən/)
- 1 [with two objects] Freely transfer the possession of (something) to (someone); hand over to: they gave her water to drink the check given to the jeweler proved worthless [with object]: he gave the papers backMore example sentences
- The proceeds of the raffle were given to charity.
- The property was given to the church to be used, not to be sold on.
- The tokens are given to customers after they pay for their goods at checkout.
- 1.1Bestow (love, affection, or other emotional support): his parents gave him the encouragement he needed to succeed (as adjective giving) he was very giving and supportiveMore example sentences
- We would like to hear from people who feel able to give emotional support to the bereaved.
- She has enjoyed being able to give love and support to the elderly and motivate her staff to do the same.
- And the support Sure Start gives to parents is helping families not just to cope, but to prosper.
- 1.2Administer (medicine): she was given antibioticsMore example sentences
- Small children often cannot manage to lie still for a long time, and may need to be given a general anaesthetic.
- Once they have been given antibiotics they will only be infectious for five days.
- People unable to swallow safely after a stroke can be given aspirin as a suppository.
- 1.3Hand over (an amount) in exchange or payment; pay: how much did you give for that?More example sentences
- In this system, money could be given as a present, but it could not be given as direct payment.
- Now it was down to the bartering. ‘What'll you give for the apricots?’
- ‘What would you give for it?’ he continued. ‘Gee, I don't know. I don't have any Brazilian money anyway.’
- 1.4 (give something for) Place a specified value on (something): he never gave anything for French painting or for abstractionMore example sentences
- ‘I give nothing for your advice,’ Lou growled.
- He apparently didn't give anything for ‘high’ culture.
- 1.5 [with object] Used hyperbolically to express how greatly one wants to have or do something: I’d give anything for a cup of tea I’d give my right arm to be in OthelloMore example sentences
sacrifice, give up, relinquish; devote, dedicate
- What I would give for a quiet train carriage running from Kilkenny to Dublin on Fridays.
- Yet what would the English give for France's record now of three Grand Slams in the last six years?
- As well as missing his company, he often mentioned what he would give for the same opportunity.
- 1.6Communicate or impart (a message) to (someone): give my love to all the girlsMore example sentences
convey to, pass on to, impart to, communicate to, transmit to; send, deliver (to), relay to; tell (to)
- Canon John Young gives his Christmas message, seeking hope and happiness at the end of a long and sometimes troubling year.
- The most important message we have to give is that his death was not a random act.
- Fed-up rail commuters have been given a message of hope from fellow travellers on Merseyside.
- 1.7 [with object] Commit, consign, or entrust: a baby given into their care by the accident of her birthMore example sentences
- Maybe she was afraid of committing and giving herself and her heart to someone.
- Any investment property can be given into the care of a property management company.
- Each group is then given into the care of a group leader who will then stay with that group for the whole of their stay.
- 1.8Freely devote, set aside, or sacrifice for a purpose: all who have given thought to the matter agree [no object]: committee members who give so generously of their time and effortMore example sentences
- You must have given a great deal of thought to this.
- A great many people gave very generously of their time, money and energy to make it a reality.
- I want to thank the many people who gave generously of their time on the legal support team.
- 1.9 [with object] (Of a man) sanction the marriage of (his daughter) to someone: he gave her in marriage to an English nobleMore example sentences
- Then, finally, he gave her in marriage to a son of the Duke of Capua, who a short time later left her a widow.
- He gave his daughter to Krishna in marriage after a stately religious ceremony.
- In those days, the father of the bride held a great feast, then gave his daughter to the bridegroom.
- 1.10 (give oneself to) • dated Consent to have sexual intercourse with (someone).More example sentences
- I would like to give myself to him, but I have reasons not to.
- I know a newlywed couple who have sex less than once a month because of this - he doesn't respect her, she knows it, and she doesn't trust him, so she doesn't want to give herself to him.
- It still scares me to think of giving myself to him.
- 1.11Pass on (an illness or infection) to (someone): I hope I don’t give you my coldMore example sentences
- Neither was she going to risk giving the cold to Richard or Matthew.
- You potentially gave him a disease that could shatter him emotionally and ruin his future relationships while knowing that you were infected.
- I hope I don't give you my cold.
- 1.12 [usually in imperative] Make a connection to allow (someone) to speak to (someone else) on the telephone: give me the policeMore example sentences
- I'm done talking to you - now give me the manager.
- ‘Can you give me the police station, please?’ I say, very quietly.
- If you can't give me your manager then transfer me to someone else and I will speak to their manager.
- 1.13Cite or present when making a toast or introducing a speaker or entertainer: for your entertainment this evening I give you ... Mister Albert DeNiro!More example sentences
- Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Queen!
- It is a great pleasure to give to you a tireless advocate for our Nations intellectual property system - and a distinguished public servant - the Secretary of Commerce, William M. Daley.
- 2 [with two objects] Cause or allow (someone or something) to have (something, especially something abstract); provide or supply with: you gave me such a fright [with object]: this leaflet gives our opening timesMore example sentences
- The experience gave her a huge lift, as she has suffered from several personal tragedies in recent years.
- I think all the experience had given me a feeling for what individual audiences want.
- Playing last year in the USA was a great experience and it has given me a real taste for travel.
- 2.1Allot or assign (a score) to: I gave it five out of tenMore example sentences
- She was a good dancer in her art school and was given a high score in the dancing test.
- Some light crackling noises and loud pops are disorienting and prevent me from giving a higher score.
- It is clearly implicit in the Tribunal's findings that Mr Rihal was given a lower score as a result of his race.
- 2.2Sentence (someone) to (a specified penalty): for the first offense I was given a fineMore example sentences
- He was given an automatic life sentence because of previous offences.
- It is a waste of time giving him a six-month sentence unless it is in addition to the sentence he is already serving.
- He was given a six-month sentence suspended at Leeds Crown Court on Monday.
- 2.3Concede or yield (something) as valid or deserved in respect of (someone): give him his dueMore example sentences
- We've had some good derbies against them in recent seasons but will be giving them the respect they deserve.
- Please give these mums the respect they deserve, they're not out to ruin your day, honest!
- We will be fully focussed and we will give them the respect they deserve but not too much.
- 2.4Allow (someone) to have (a specified amount of time) for an activity or undertaking: give me a second to bring the car around [with object]: I’ll give you until tomorrow morningMore example sentences
- This time he requested, and was granted, the first slot in the Arthur Ashe Stadium, giving him the maximum amount of time to recover.
- The contract has been on the table since last week and Henderson was originally given until tomorrow to make up his mind.
- It gave him a small amount of time to think as he began his way up the flights of stairs, skipping steps.
- 2.5 • informal Predict that (an activity, undertaking, or relationship) will last no longer than (a specified time): this is a place that will not improve with time—I give it three weeksMore example sentences
- She's also dating this high-class guy. I give it two weeks.
- And by the time the voters have had enough of this, the banking tax scandal will be long forgotten - I'd give it a week at most.
- I give that relationship a month at the most.
- 2.6 [with object] Yield as a product or result: milk is sometimes added to give a richer cheeseMore example sentences
- The finest recipes omit the semolina, giving an extra spongy result.
- The main dining area is circular, with high windows giving a very light and airy feel to the place.
- However, the kind of technology that we have developed gives a very high yield indeed.
- 2.7 [with object] (give something off/out/forth) Emit odor, vapor, or similar substances: it can be burned without giving off toxic fumesMore example sentences
- There was a spillage inside Boots this morning and fumes were given off and over the course of the morning the staff became increasingly unwell so they called the emergency services.
- You didn't mention what fumes were given off by the overheated coating, but I was told at the time that it was similar to mustard gas.
- Mr. Carter testified that certain chemicals were used in the plant, and fumes were given off when materials were processed.
- 3 [with object] Carry out or perform (a specified action): I gave a bow [with two objects]: he gave the counter a polish
- 3.1Utter or produce (a sound): he gave a gaspMore example sentences
- It quickly backed away giving a noise that sounded a bit like a whimper.
- He puts his hand over hers and she squeezes it, he gives this sad little sound.
- His wrist gave an ugly grinding sound and searing pain tore through him like knives.
- 3.2Provide (a party or social meal) as host or hostess: a dinner given in honor of a Canadian diplomat [with two objects]: Korda gave him a going-away partyMore example sentences
- The gorgeous house where you could give those dinner parties is the same kind of house Lynette wishes she could escape.
- The only time I met him was at a dinner party given by one of his sons, who was an Oxford friend of mine.
- There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the waste disposal unit.
- 4 [with object] State or put forward (information or argument): he did not give his nameMore example sentences
- The initial argument, given by those who had read from the books, put Wuthering Heights firmly in the lead.
- This may seem contrived, but essentially the same argument can be given in a more natural form.
- In contrast, the daily life exhibit gives little or no information on the daily life of the ancient Egyptians.
- 4.1Pledge or assign as a guarantee: [with two objects]: I give you my wordMore example sentences
- I give you my word that you will never, ever regret it.
- I give you my pledge that if I become the President of the United States, America will keep its defenses alert and fully sufficient to meet any danger.
- By signing those notes he gave his word that he would honour the debt.
- 4.2 [with two objects, usually with negative] Say to (someone) as an excuse or inappropriate answer: don’t give me any of your back talkMore example sentences
- Don't give me that nonsense that you are saving the environment.
- Don't give me that tired old excuse. You have a kid, you pay for him.
- Don't give me your lies about freedom, peace and democracy.
- 4.3Deliver (a judgment) authoritatively: I gave my verdictMore example sentences
- It is understood a mass verdict will be given when the hearings have finally ended.
- The judge saw the film for himself and gave his verdict in a matter of a few days.
- She fell silent for a few minutes, before giving her verdict.
- 4.4Present (an appearance or impression): he gave no sign of lifeMore example sentences
- It is not arguable that his presence gives a reasonable appearance of bias.
- Councillor Margaret Howes said she believed the signs gave the impression that the town was violent.
- It may be that the reporting of these suggestions gave the impression that they were already council policy.
- 4.5 [no object] • informal Tell what one knows: okay, give—what’s that all about?More example sentences
- So give, what's the reason behind it?
- So give! What's happening with him?
- Alright. Give. What's up? You still have a secret, don't you?
- 5 [no object] Alter in shape under pressure rather than resist or break: that chair doesn’t giveMore example sentences
- To test them, press one with your finger and it should just give under the pressure.
- Either way, it's ready when the skin gives easily under pressure and the meat is tender.
- Is it because the clubface gives a little, resulting in slightly less deformation of the ball during impact?
- 5.1Yield or give way to pressure: the heavy door didn’t give until the fifth push • figurative when two people who don’t get on are thrust together, something’s got to giveMore example sentences
- He had Sam by the wrist and could feel the bone giving under the pressure he was exerting.
- The ice gave and broke with the weight.
- The door finally gave but not without the hinges making a loud protest.
- 5.2North American • informal Concede defeat; surrender: I give!More example sentences
- ‘All right. I give!’ He threw up his hands in defeat.
- ‘Okay! I give!’ I squealed, ‘I'll help you!’
- He gave me several chances to quit - "‘Do you give yet?" - but I flailed about, trying desperately to get out of his viselike grip.
nounBack to top
- 1Capacity to bend or alter in shape under pressure; elasticity: plastic pots that have enough give to accommodate the vigorous rootsMore example sentences
- To perform good dressage, you want the ground to give you something back, a bit of give and bounce.
- He felt the gentle give of the handcuffs beneath his expert hands and reigned in his emotions.
- We are on this type of surface for the rest of the route and very nice it is too, a bit of give under the boots for comfort, and you do not have to watch your feet.
- 1.1Ability to adapt or comply; flexibility: there is no give at all in the British positionMore example sentences
- There's very little give, I think, in a serious way on the part of the regime.
- How do you take risks, try new things, learn, and grow, when there's no give left in the system?
- The market is vulnerable to any kind of shock or semi-shock because there is hardly any give in the supply.
give oneself airs
- Act pretentiously or snobbishly.More example sentences
- It was as if he was always wary of getting above himself, of giving himself airs and graces, a peculiarly Scottish trait.
- For everyone, literally for everyone in Sursee, he is simply ‘the priest’, and we never feel that he is the kind of parish priest who gives himself airs.
- When I describe the feeling it sometimes feels pretentious to use Buddhist metaphors, as though I'm trying to give myself airs.
give and take
- Mutual concessions and compromises.More example sentences
- Many of these ancient practices were not just for the sake of it, but were meant to be subtle reminders of the need for mutual give and take, besides sacrifices and adjustments, to ensure wedded bliss.
- The relationship between IT and the rest of the business needs to be like a marriage with a good deal of mutual give and take.
- I was merely illustrating the give and take, the reciprocation.
- [as verb] Make concessions and compromises.More example sentences
- Remember, in any relationship, both parties have to give and take and learn to accept things about each other, right?
- They will soon learn that to give and take in the workplace and indeed, any relationship, reaps its own rewards.
- As to their recipe for a happy marriage, Gladys said: ‘You've just got to give and take.’
give as good as one gets
- Respond with equal force or vehemence when attacked.More example sentences
- They allow you to believe that you're giving as good as you get.
- Anne is just as nasty as she makes out but you have got to give as good as you get.
- Do you think it would be fair to say that you're able to give as good as you get?
give the (whole) game (or show) away
- Inadvertently reveal something secret or concealed.More example sentences
- They gave the game away last year when the Government suggested church schools educate more children who are in care, and they recoiled in horror.
- I'll not give the game away but lets just say a game of cat and mouse was had and the cat won it.
- There is a particular shot in every trailer I've seen of this movie that gives the game away completely.
give it to someone
- • informal Scold or punish someone.More example sentences
- A psychologist claimed the crimes were committed by kids whose parents didn't give it to them.
- In the Bahamas when all sides are giving it to you, and the protests are loud and vociferous from the right, the left and the middle, chances are that you are doing something right.
- She was always giving it to him about the radishes and the vegetable skins in the garbage disposal.
give me ——
- I prefer or admire ——: give me the mainland any day!More example sentences
- Give me the town over the country any day.
- Jazz is too intellectual, give me Elvis and his shaking hips any day.
- I'm so sick of the city. Give me the coast and happiness anytime!
give me a break
- • informal Used to express exasperation, protest, or disbelief.More example sentences
- I am just trying to do my job, come on, give me a break.
- I was twelve, give me a break. I didn't even speak English that well at that point.
- If I was getting completely ripped off then I might say, ‘Come on, give me a break’.
give or take ——
- • informal To within —— (used to express the degree or accuracy of a figure): three hundred and fifty years ago, give or take a fewMore example sentences
- They found that the mass extinction occurred 46,400 years ago, give or take 3,000 years.
- He departed this vale two decades or so ago, give or take a few years.
- Although no one knows for certain, most authorities agree that the pug originated in China around 2,500 years ago, give or take a few centuries.
- Apart from: give or take a handful of machine tools, there are few new productsMore example sentences
- Nothing too substantial can happen to them, either good or bad, so you know the novel will be left tied up in a neat package which leaves them roughly where they began, give or take a scar.
- I'm still essentially the same as I was 20 years ago, give or take a few stone - but there are some dodgy areas for women of my age.
- I spent almost my entire first 17 years, give or take a day out or the odd holiday, within a one mile radius of the house that's been our home for over 50 years.
give rise to
- Cause or induce to happen: decisions which give rise to argumentsMore example sentences
- Excessive claims, and many of them fraudulent, are giving rise to ever increasing premium costs.
- Our defeat on those two fronts is giving rise to more violence.
- Then, of course, two British helicopters crashed into one another, giving rise to more casualties.
give someone to understand (or believe or know)
- Inform someone in a formal and rather indirect way: I was given to understand that I had been invitedMore example sentences
- Next time, we were given to understand, the same policies would be adopted.
- Once upon a time we were given to believe that the growth and exposure at the top tier of any sport would impact favourably on the lower levels
- Certainly we were given to believe in the first place that information received was not passed on.
give up the ghost
- see ghost.
give someone what for
- • informal • dated Punish or scold someone severely.More example sentences
- The once quiet little girl who was mercilessly bullied at her last school was giving them what for.
- Once, the cat got too close and she gave him what for.
- I gave him what for and told him he better not miss the funeral!
- • informal What’s the news?; what’s happening? (frequently used as a friendly greeting).More example sentences
- But now she's making out with someone else… what gives?
- Something's got you on Cloud Nine and I know it's not having to come in to work on a Saturday, so what gives?
- That's three days in a row you've worn your dress blues, what gives?
give someone away
- 1Reveal the true identity of someone: his strangely shaped feet gave him awayMore example sentences
- I saw Jude stride in through the front door. His walk gave him away immediately.
- It was too dark for him to see his attacker, but her voice gave her away.
- 1.1Reveal information that incriminates someone.More example sentences
betray, inform on• informal rat on, blow the whistle on, sell down the river, rat out, finger
- Kaleb quickly checked for any incriminating things that might give him away.
- Her eyes gave her away, betrayed what she really felt.
- He has his poker face on, only the wriggling of his foot could give him away.
- 2Hand over a bride ceremonially to her bridegroom as part of a wedding ceremony.More example sentences
- She was too young and her mother was bed-ridden with arthritis, so the ceremony of giving her away as a bride was delayed.
- She will be cheered on by husband Christopher, who she married in February, and her mum Margaret, who gave her away on her wedding day.
- Jane admits the man who gave her away at their wedding wasn't her father, but a paid actor.
give something away
- Reveal something secret or concealed.More example sentences
- Mr Atkinson wasn't giving any secrets away but advised: ‘If you get your ingredients right in the first place and put them together properly you are on to a winner.’
- Without giving any secrets away or anticipating the future, do you see the current structure continuing when the two organisations come together in 2005?
- The Prince asked Mrs Throup about the secret recipe but she told him: ‘I'm afraid we never give our secrets away.’
- Cease fighting or arguing; yield; surrender: he reluctantly gave in to the pressureMore example sentences
- She is a lover of life, and she is not going to give in without a fight.
- Not wanting to give in, the Myers fought against the notice and even defended themselves at an appeal.
- Did you succeed by fighting your fate or by giving in to it?
give on to (or into)
- British (Of a window, door, corridor, etc.) overlook or lead into: a plate glass window gave on to the roofMore example sentences
- A glass door gives on to a roomful of fruit and vegetables.
- Doors give into the upper aft deck with its large round table, offering an alternative dining area.
- Two large glass doors give on to the north and south park.
- Be completely used up: her energy was on the verge of giving outMore example sentences
- The remote control batteries then gave out as soon as the machine entered the arena.
- As he got there his energy reserves finally gave out and both legs failed and he fell, head first into the side of the car as he fell heavily beside it.
- The money soon gave out and the proposed improvement had to be abandoned.
- Stop functioning; break down: he curses and swears till his voice gives outMore example sentences
- He'll stop when his liver gives out or when he gets sick of being hungover.
- He has always said that he started conducting in order to have something to do when his voice gave out, and his efforts on the podium are characteristically conscientious.
- His voice gave out on the final syllable, his distressed croak fading abruptly into an almost inaudible squeak.
give something out
- Distribute or broadcast something: I’ve been giving out leafletsMore example sentences
- Fans had to apply for tickets for the free concert, but all the publicly allocated tickets have been given out.
- I've thought of printing some little leaflets out, to give them out to people.
- Over 16,000 leaflets were given out to the public on the strike days.
- [often in imperative] British • informal Stop doing something.More example sentences
- Give over, will you? Youre driving me crazy!
- Just give over, stop moaning and if it's that bad don't go back.
- Used to express vehement disagreement or denial: I suggested her salary might be £100,000. “Give over!”More example sentences
- Oh give over - that's exactly what you're doing.
- Act your age? Give over, that's never going to happen.
- Cease making an effort; resign oneself to failure.More example sentences
- It's not like you to give up so easily on an assignment so early after starting school.
- She says that it would be impossible to give up now after all the money and the effort.
- As long as I don't think about it as giving up, it doesn't seem to be a problem.
give it up
- [usually in imperative] US • informal Applaud a performer or entertainer.More example sentences
- He then told the responsive crowd to give it up for each of the other acts, which they happily did.
- Ladies and Gentlemen, give it up for Kimberly.
- Let's give it up for the new couple!
give oneself up to
- • dated Allow oneself to be taken over by (an emotion or addiction): he gave himself up to pleasureMore example sentences
- She had tried so hard to give herself over to the love she thought she had for Keenan, being as selfless as she knew how.
- The rich gave themselves over to the most excessive indulgence and the poor knew no other desire than to be able to participate, ever so modestly, in that indulgence.
- Like a schoolboy disappointed in love, he gave himself over to mental violence.
give someone up
- 1Deliver a wanted person to law-enforcement agents: a voice told him to come out and give himself upMore example sentences
- James decides to give himself up and is brought before the court system.
- Police had been trying for two days to persuade Carl Roland to give himself up.
- Only the next morning, with armed troops surrounding the palace of justice, did the two give themselves up.
- 2 • dated Stop hoping that someone is still going to arrive: oh, it’s you—we’d almost given you upMore example sentences
- I was about to give you up and go to bed.
- Mrs General complained of a headache, and of being fatigued; and so, when we gave you up, she went to bed, dear.
- Thank God you're O.K. - we'd given you up.
- 2.1Pronounce a sick person incurable.More example sentences
- When her lungs began haemorrhaging, she was given up for dead.
- Nearly all the doctors had given him up, and we were told to expect the worst.
- The doctors at the hospital gave her up and she came home, where she died shortly.
give something up
- Part with something that one would prefer to keep: she would have given up everything for loveMore example sentences
- She enters into a pact with a doctor who helps her deliver the baby and give it up for adoption.
- In both cases the love was more fully expressed because it involved a sacrifice - in the first story a treasured possession was given up, in the second it was a sacrifice of time and warmth.
- ‘For most ladies giving their child up for adoption is the biggest sacrifice you can make,’ Hielema said.
- Stop the habitual doing or consuming of something: I’ve decided to give up drinkingMore example sentences
- Debbie likes a drink with dinner and I like several after dinner so we've decided to give it up during the week.
- There are thousands of people who love their drink, and who wouldn't give it up for anything.
- Getting rid of the sugar addresses Jacobson's most credible concerns about soft drinks without forcing people to give them up completely.
give up on
- Stop having faith or belief in: they weren’t about to give up on their heroes so easilyMore example sentences
- He didn't totally give up on the concept of faith though, he just reinterpreted.
- We must not give up on what many know in their hearts is the right thing to do.
- In the meantime, Dave just kept plugging away, never losing faith in his ability or giving up on his music.
Old English giefan, gefan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch geven and German geben.