Yield to a stronger force, retreat, as in He began to give ground on that point, although he didn't stop arguing entirely. This expression originated in the 1500s, when it alluded to a military force retreating and so giving up territory to the enemy. By the mid-1600s it was being used figuratively.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
How to use give ground in a sentence
If the GOP moved on taxes, the Democrats would give ground on entitlements, as they have now signaled yet again.
In the North we had to give ground, but not before we had made the enemy pay ten times its value in killed and wounded.Gallipoli Diary, Volume I | Ian Hamilton
But armed as he was, severe and flash-tempered as he seemed, Mackenzie was not in any sort of a flurry to give ground before him.The Flockmaster of Poison Creek | George W. Ogden
Not so; if we must give ground let us retreat in good order, leaving no shield behind us that our enemy may build into his trophy.Sword and Gown | George A. Lawrence
After these acts of courtesy, the Russian rear-guard filed off rapidly to give ground to our vanguard.
Merriwell was following Bascomb up like a tiger, and the big fellow was forced to give ground.Frank Merriwell's Chums | Burt L. Standish