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[giv] /gɪv/
verb (used with object), gave, given, giving.
to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation; bestow:
to give a birthday present to someone.
to hand to someone:
Give me that plate, please.
to place in someone's care:
If you give me your coat, I'll put it in the closet.
to grant (permission, opportunity, etc.) to someone:
Give me a chance.
to impart or communicate:
to give advice; to give a cold to someone.
to set forth or show; present; offer:
He gave no reason for his lateness.
to pay or transfer possession to another in exchange for something:
They gave five dollars for the picture. He gave me the car for $800.
to furnish, provide, or proffer:
to give evidence; Let me give you my umbrella before you go out in this rain.
to provide as an entertainment or social function:
to give a New Year's Eve party.
to deal or administer:
to give a blow to someone; to give medicine to a patient.
to put forth, emit, or utter; issue:
to give a cry; to give a command.
to assign or admit as a basis of calculation or reasoning (usually used passively):
These facts being given, the argument makes sense.
to produce, yield, or afford:
to give good results; 9 × 8 gives 72; The hen gave six eggs a week.
to make, do, or perform:
to give a start; to give a lurch.
to perform or present publicly:
to give a play; to give a concert.
to cause; be responsible for (usually followed by an infinitive):
They gave me to understand that you would be there.
to care about something to the value or extent of (something fanciful):
I don't give a hoot about his opinion.
to relinquish or sacrifice:
to give one's life for a cause.
to convey or transmit:
Give Aunt Betty my love.
to assign or allot: Give every man a full ration of biscuits. They gave him the name of “Joseph.”.
to bestow (the object of one's choice) upon, as if by providence:
Give me the wide open spaces anytime.
to be connected with, as by a telephone operator:
Give me 235-7522.
to present to an audience, as an entertainer, speaker, or act:
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the governor of Texas.
to attribute or ascribe:
to give the devil his due; After long study the critic gave the unsigned work to a minor impressionist.
to cause or occasion:
She gives me a pain in the neck.
to apply fully or freely:
He gives his free time to golf.
to award by verdict or after consideration:
A decision was given for the defendant.
to inflict as a punishment on another; punish by; impose a sentence of:
The judge gave him five years.
to pledge, offer as a pledge, or execute and deliver:
He gave her his promise. Can you give bond?
to propose as the subject of a toast (followed by an indirect object):
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you our country.
to bear to a man; deliver (followed by an indirect object):
She gave him a beautiful baby boy.
to sire upon a woman; father (followed by an indirect object):
He gave her two children in the first five years of marriage.
to concede or grant, as a point in an argument.
verb (used without object), gave, given, giving.
to make a gift or gifts; contribute:
to give to the United Way.
to yield somewhat, as to influence or force; compromise:
We can't negotiate until each side is willing to give on some points.
to yield somewhat when subjected to weight, force, pressure, etc.:
A horsehair mattress doesn't give much.
to collapse; break down; fall apart; fail:
The antique chair gave when I sat on it.
to be warm and open in relationships with other persons:
a withdrawn person who doesn't know how to give.
Informal. to divulge information:
Okay now, give! What happened?
to afford a view or passage; face, open, or lead (usually followed by on, onto, etc.):
The window gives on the sea. This door gives onto the hallway.
the quality or state of being resilient; springiness.
Verb phrases
give away,
  1. to give as a present; bestow.
  2. to present (the bride) to the bridegroom in a marriage ceremony.
  3. to expose or betray (a person).
  4. to reveal (a confidence or secret, hidden motives, true feelings, etc.):
    That remark gave away his real feelings.
give back, to return (something), as to its owner; restore:
You haven't given back the books you borrowed from me.
give birth to. birth (def 10).
give in,
  1. to acknowledge defeat; yield.
  2. to hand in; deliver:
    Please give in your timecards.
give of, to devote or contribute generously of:
to give of oneself; to give of one's abundance.
give off, to put forth; emit:
The gardenia gives off a very strong fragrance.
give out,
  1. to send out; emit.
  2. to make public; announce.
  3. to distribute; issue.
  4. to become exhausted.
  5. to become used up; fail:
    The fuel gave out.
  6. to do or express something, especially unrestrainedly or easily:
    to give out with a song.
give over,
  1. to put into the care of; transfer:
    She gave over all her property to her daughter.
  2. to put an end to; stop:
    They will never give over their impossible dreams.
  3. to indulge in without restraint:
    She gave herself over to tears.
  4. to devote to a specified activity:
    The day was given over to relaxing in the sun.
give up,
  1. to abandon hope; despair.
  2. to desist from; renounce:
    to give up smoking.
  3. to surrender; relinquish.
  4. to devote (oneself) entirely to:
    She gave herself up to her job and seldom saw her old friends.
  5. South Midland U.S. to consider; deem:
    She's given up to be the kindest woman around here.
give and take,
  1. to compromise in order to cooperate:
    A willingness to give and take is important for success in marriage.
  2. to exchange ideas:
    an informal meeting in which there would be opportunities to give and take.
give battle. battle1 (def 10).
give ground, to yield before superior force, as of arms or of reasoning.
give it to, Informal. to reprimand or punish:
His father really gave it to him for coming home so late.
give or take, plus or minus a specified amount; more or less:
It will cost $20, give or take a dollar or two.
give rise to. rise (def 55).
give way. way1 (def 25).
Origin of give
before 900; Middle English < Old Norse gefa (compare Danish give); replacing Middle English yeven, yiven, Old English gefan, giefan; cognate with Dutch geven, German geben, Gothic giban
Related forms
givable, giveable, adjective, noun
giver, noun
nongiving, adjective
regive, verb, regave, regiven, regiving.
self-giving, adjective
ungiveable, adjective
ungiving, adjective
1. offer, vouchsafe, impart, accord, furnish, provide, supply, donate, contribute. 18. cede, yield.
1. receive.
Synonym Study
1. Give, confer, grant, present may mean that something concrete or abstract is bestowed on one person by another. Give is the general word: to give someone a book, permission, etc. Confer usually means to give an honor or a favor; it implies courteous and gracious giving: to confer a degree. Grant is limited to the idea of acceding to a request; it may apply to the bestowal of privileges, or the fulfillment of an expressed wish: to grant a charter, a prayer, permission, etc. Present, a more formal word than give, usually implies a certain ceremony in the giving: to present a citation to a regiment. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for giving
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There could not be a giving up—and there must not be failure.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • It is not a question of His giving, but of my capacity to take.

  • If God were to do like her, how many would be giving honour to his Son?

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • "Get in then," said his father roughly, giving him a push with his foot.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • Hotspur interrupts her by calling the servant and giving him orders.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
British Dictionary definitions for giving


verb (mainly transitive) gives, giving, gave (ɡeɪv), given (ˈɡɪvən)
(also intransitive) to present or deliver voluntarily (something that is one's own) to the permanent possession of another or others
(often foll by for) to transfer (something that is one's own, esp money) to the possession of another as part of an exchange: to give fifty pounds for a painting
to place in the temporary possession of another: I gave him my watch while I went swimming
when intr, foll by of. to grant, provide, or bestow: give me some advice
to administer: to give a reprimand
to award or attribute: to give blame, praise, etc
to be a source of: he gives no trouble
to impart or communicate: to give news, give a person a cold
to utter or emit: to give a shout
to perform, make, or do: the car gave a jolt and stopped
to sacrifice or devote: he gave his life for his country
to surrender: to give place to others
to concede or yield: I will give you this game
(intransitive) (informal) to happen: what gives?
(often foll by to) to cause; lead: she gave me to believe that she would come
(foll by for) to value (something) at: I don't give anything for his promises
to perform or present as an entertainment: to give a play
to propose as a toast: I give you the Queen
(intransitive) to yield or break under force or pressure: this surface will give if you sit on it, his courage will never give
give as good as one gets, to respond to verbal or bodily blows to at least an equal extent as those received
give battle, to commence fighting
(often foll by to) give birth
  1. to bear (offspring)
  2. to produce, originate, or create (an idea, plan, etc)
(slang) give a person five, give a person some skin, to greet or congratulate someone by slapping raised hands
give ground, to draw back or retreat
(slang) give it up for someone, to applaud someone
(Brit, slang) give someone one, to have sex with someone
give rise to, to be the cause of
(informal) give me, I prefer: give me hot weather any day!
give or take, plus or minus: three thousand people came, give or take a few hundred
give way, See way (sense 24)
(informal) give a person what for, to punish or reprimand a person severely
a tendency to yield under pressure; resilience: there's bound to be some give in a long plank, there is no give in his moral views
Derived Forms
givable, giveable, adjective
giver, noun
Word Origin
Old English giefan; related to Old Norse gefa, Gothic giban, Old High German geban, Swedish giva
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for giving



Old English giefan (W. Saxon) "to give, bestow; allot, grant; commit, devote, entrust," class V strong verb (past tense geaf, past participle giefen), from Proto-Germanic *gebanan (cf. Old Frisian jeva, Middle Dutch gheven, Dutch geven, Old High German geban, German geben, Gothic giban), from PIE *ghabh- "to take, hold, have, give" (see habit). It became yiven in Middle English, but changed to guttural "g" by influence of Old Norse gefa "to give," Old Danish givæ. Meaning "to yield to pressure" is from 1570s.

Give in "yield" is from 1610s; give out is mid-14c., "publish, announce;" meaning "run out, break down" is from 1520s. Give up "surrender" is mid-12c. To give (someone) a cold seems to reflect the old belief that one could be cured of disease by deliberately infecting others. What gives? "what is happening?" is attested from 1940. Give-and-take (n.) is originally from horse racing (1769) and refers to races in which bigger horses were given more weight to carry, lighter ones less. General sense attested by 1778.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for giving



A command to speak, to explain, etc: She said, ''Give!,'' so I told all (1956+)

Related Terms

what gives

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with giving


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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