give way


1

Retreat or withdraw, as in The army gave way before the enemy. [Early 1500s]

2

Yield the right of way; also, relinquish ascendancy, as in The cars must give way to the parade, or The children were called inside as day gave way slowly to night. [Early 1700s]

3

Collapse, fail, break down, as in The ladder gave way, or His health gave way under the strain. [Mid-1600s]

4

Also, give way to. Yield to urging or demand, as in At the last minute he gave way and avoided a filibuster, or The owners gave way to their demands for a pay increase. [Mid-1700s]

5

Also, give way to. Abandon oneself, lose self-control, as in She gave way to hysteria, or Don't give way to despair. [First half of 1800s]

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