v. gave (gāv), giv·en (gĭvən), giv·ing, gives
1. To make a present of: We gave her flowers for her birthday.
2. To place in the hands of; pass: Give me the scissors.
a. To deliver in exchange or recompense; pay: gave five dollars for the book.
b. To let go for a price; sell: gave the used car away for two thousand dollars.
a. To administer: give him some cough medicine.
b. To convey by a physical action: gave me a punch in the nose.
c. To inflict as punishment: was given life imprisonment for the crime.
a. To bestow, especially officially; confer: The Bill of Rights gives us freedom of speech.
b. To accord or tender to another: Give him your confidence.
c. To put temporarily at the disposal of: gave them the cottage for a week.
d. To entrust to another, usually for a specified reason: gave me the keys for safekeeping.
e. To communicate, convey, or offer for conveyance: Give him my best wishes. Give us the latest news.
a. To endure the loss of; sacrifice: gave her son to the war; gave her life for her country.
b. To devote or apply completely: gives herself to her work.
c. To furnish or contribute: gave their time to help others.
d. To offer in good faith; pledge: Give me your word.
a. To allot as a portion or share.
b. To bestow (a name, for example).
c. To attribute (blame, for example) to someone; assign.
d. To award as due: gave us first prize.
8. To emit or utter: gave a groan; gave a muted response.
9. To submit for consideration, acceptance, or use: give an opinion; give an excuse.
a. To proffer to another: gave the toddler my hand.
b. To consent to engage (oneself) in sexual intercourse with another person.
a. To perform for an audience: give a recital.
b. To present to view: gave the sign to begin.
a. To offer as entertainment: give a dinner party.
b. To propose as a toast.
a. To be a source of; afford: His remark gave offense. Music gives her pleasure.
b. To cause to catch or be subject to (a disease or bodily condition): The draft gave me a cold.
c. To guide or direct, as by persuasion or behavior. Used with an infinitive phrase: You gave me to imagine you approved of my report.
a. To yield or produce: Cows give milk.
b. To bring forth or bear: trees that give fruit.
c. To produce as a result of calculation: 5 × 12 gives 60.
a. To manifest or show: gives promise of brilliance; gave evidence of tampering.
b. To carry out (a physical movement): give a wink; give a start.
16. To permit one to have or take: gave us an hour to finish.
17. To take an interest to the extent of: "My dear, I don't give a damn" (Margaret Mitchell).
1. To make gifts or donations: gives generously to charity.
a. To yield to physical force: The sail gave during the storm.
b. To collapse from force or pressure: The roof gave under the weight of the snow.
c. To yield to change: Both sides will have to give on some issues.
3. To afford access or a view; open: The doors give onto a terrace.
4. Slang To be in progress; happen: What gives?
1. Capacity or inclination to yield under pressure.
2. The quality or condition of resilience; springiness: "Fruits that have some give ... will have more juice than hard ones" (Elizabeth Schneider).
1. To offer or provide at no cost to the recipient: The radio station gave away six tickets to the rock concert. I bought my toddler a small bed and gave her crib away.
2. To reveal or make known: I avoid movie reviews that gives away plot twists. I stopped reading the book when my friend gave the ending away.
3. To betray.
To return: gave me back my book.
1. To hand in; submit: She gave in her report.
2. To cease opposition; yield.
To devote or contribute: She really gave of her time to help. They give of themselves to improve the quality of education.
To send forth; emit: chemical changes that give off energy.
1. To allow to be known; declare publicly: gave out the bad news.
2. To send forth; emit: gave out a steady buzzing.
3. To distribute: gave out the surplus food.
4. To stop functioning; fail.
5. To become used up or exhausted; run out: Their determination finally gave out.
1. To hand over; entrust.
2. To devote to a particular purpose or use: gave the day over to merrymaking.
3. To surrender (oneself) completely; abandon: finally gave myself over to grief.
4. To cause an activity to stop: ordered the combatants to give over.
1. To surrender: The suspects gave themselves up. To devote (oneself) completely: gave herself up to her work.
2. To cease to do or perform: gave up their search. To desist from; stop: gave up smoking.
3. To part with; relinquish: gave up the apartment; gave up all hope.
4. To lose hope for: We had given the dog up as lost. To lose hope of seeing: We'd given you up an hour ago.
5. To admit defeat.
6. To abandon what one is doing or planning to do: gave up on writing the novel.
give a good account of (oneself)
To behave or perform creditably.
give birth to
1. To bear as offspring.
2. To be the origin of: a hobby that gave birth to a successful business.
To yield to a more powerful force; retreat.
give it to Informal
To punish or reprimand severely: My parents really gave it to me for coming in late.
give or take
Plus or minus a small specified amount: The chalet is close to the road, give or take a few hundred yards.
give rise to
To be the cause or origin of; bring about.
give (someone) a piece of (one's) mind
To tell someone frankly what one thinks about something, especially when angry.
give (someone) a hard time
1. To make life difficult for; harass.
2. To make fun of; tease.
give (someone) the eye
1. To look at admiringly or invitingly.
2. To look at with an expression of disapproval.
give the lie to
1. To show to be inaccurate or untrue.
2. To accuse of lying.
give up the ghost
To cease living or functioning; die.
1. To retreat or withdraw.
2. To yield the right of way: gave way to an oncoming car.
3. To relinquish ascendancy or position: as day gives way slowly to night.
4. To collapse from or as if from physical pressure: The ladder gave way.
5. To yield to urging or demand; give in.
6. To abandon oneself: give way to hysteria.
[Middle English given, from Old English giefan and Old Norse gefa; see ghabh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.