[ giv ]
See synonyms for: givegavegivengiving on

verb (used with object),gave [geyv], /geɪv/, giv·en [giv-uhn], /ˈgɪv ən/, giv·ing.
  1. to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation; bestow: to give a birthday present to someone.

  2. to hand to someone: Give me that plate, please.

  1. to place in someone's care: If you give me your coat, I'll put it in the closet.

  2. to grant (permission, opportunity, etc.) to someone: Give me a chance.

  3. to impart or communicate: to give advice; to give a cold to someone.

  4. to set forth or show; present; offer: He gave no reason for his lateness.

  5. 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.

  6. to furnish, provide, or proffer: to give evidence; Let me give you my umbrella before you go out in this rain.

  7. to provide as an entertainment or social function: to give a New Year's Eve party.

  8. to deal or administer: to give a blow to someone; to give medicine to a patient.

  9. to put forth, emit, or utter; issue: to give a cry; to give a command.

  10. to assign or admit as a basis of calculation or reasoning (usually used passively): These facts being given, the argument makes sense.

  11. to produce, yield, or afford: to give good results; 9 × 8 gives 72; The hen gave six eggs a week.

  12. to make, do, or perform: to give a start; to give a lurch.

  13. to perform or present publicly: to give a play; to give a concert.

  14. to cause; be responsible for (usually followed by an infinitive): They gave me to understand that you would be there.

  15. to care about something to the value or extent of (something fanciful): I don't give a hoot about his opinion.

  16. to relinquish or sacrifice: to give one's life for a cause.

  17. to convey or transmit: Give Aunt Betty my love.

  18. to assign or allot: Give every man a full ration of biscuits. They gave him the name of “Joseph.”

  19. to bestow (the object of one's choice) upon, as if by providence: Give me the wide open spaces anytime.

  20. to be connected with, as by a telephone operator: Give me 235-7522.

  21. to present to an audience, as an entertainer, speaker, or act: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the governor of Texas.

  22. to attribute or ascribe: to give the devil his due; After long study the critic gave the unsigned work to a minor impressionist.

  23. to cause or occasion: She gives me a pain in the neck.

  24. to apply fully or freely: He gives his free time to golf.

  25. to award by verdict or after consideration: A decision was given for the defendant.

  26. to inflict as a punishment on another; punish by; impose a sentence of: The judge gave him five years.

  27. to pledge, offer as a pledge, or execute and deliver: He gave her his promise. Can you give bond?

  28. to propose as the subject of a toast (followed by an indirect object): Ladies and gentlemen, I give you our country.

  29. to bear to a man; deliver (followed by an indirect object): She gave him a beautiful baby boy.

  30. to sire upon a woman; father (followed by an indirect object): He gave her two children in the first five years of marriage.

  31. to concede or grant, as a point in an argument.

verb (used without object),gave [geyv], /geɪv/, giv·en [giv-uhn], /ˈgɪv ən/, giv·ing.
  1. to make a gift or gifts; contribute: to give to the United Way.

  2. to yield somewhat, as to influence or force; compromise: We can't negotiate until each side is willing to give on some points.

  1. to yield somewhat when subjected to weight, force, pressure, etc.: A horsehair mattress doesn't give much.

  2. to collapse; break down; fall apart; fail: The antique chair gave when I sat on it.

  3. to be warm and open in relationships with other persons: a withdrawn person who doesn't know how to give.

  4. Informal. to divulge information: Okay now, give! What happened?

  5. 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.

  1. the quality or state of being resilient; springiness.

Verb Phrases
  1. give away,

    • to give as a present; bestow.

    • to present (the bride) to the bridegroom in a marriage ceremony.

    • to expose or betray (a person).

    • to reveal (a confidence or secret, hidden motives, true feelings, etc.): That remark gave away his real feelings.

  2. give back, to return (something), as to its owner; restore: You haven't given back the books you borrowed from me.

  1. give birth to. birth (def. 10).

  2. give in,

    • to acknowledge defeat; yield.

    • to hand in; deliver: Please give in your timecards.

  3. give of, to devote or contribute generously of: to give of oneself; to give of one's abundance.

  4. give off, to put forth; emit: The gardenia gives off a very strong fragrance.

  5. give out,

    • to send out; emit.

    • to make public; announce.

    • to distribute; issue.

    • to become exhausted.

    • to become used up; fail: The fuel gave out.

    • to do or express something, especially unrestrainedly or easily: to give out with a song.

  6. give over,

    • to put into the care of; transfer: She gave over all her property to her daughter.

    • to put an end to; stop: They will never give over their impossible dreams.

    • to indulge in without restraint: She gave herself over to tears.

    • to devote to a specified activity: The day was given over to relaxing in the sun.

  7. give up,

    • to abandon hope; despair.

    • to desist from; renounce: to give up smoking.

    • to surrender; relinquish.

    • to devote (oneself) entirely to: She gave herself up to her job and seldom saw her old friends.

    • South Midland U.S. to consider; deem: She's given up to be the kindest woman around here.

Idioms about give

  1. give and take,

    • to compromise in order to cooperate: A willingness to give and take is important for success in marriage.

    • to exchange ideas: an informal meeting in which there would be opportunities to give and take.

  2. give battle. battle1 (def. 10).

  1. give ground, to yield before superior force, as of arms or of reasoning.

  2. give it to, Informal. to reprimand or punish: His father really gave it to him for coming home so late.

  3. give or take, plus or minus a specified amount; more or less: It will cost $20, give or take a dollar or two.

  4. give rise to. rise (def. 55).

  5. give way. way1 (def. 25).

Origin of give

First recorded before 900; Middle English, from Old Norse gefa (compare Danish give ); replacing Middle English yeven, yiven, Old English gefan, giefan; cognate with Dutch geven, German geben, Gothic giban (the pronunciation of the Middle English and Old English forms with initial y- were replaced by Old Norse g- as early as 1200 in parts of the Danelaw)

synonym study For give

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.

Other words for give

Opposites for give

Other words from give

  • giv·a·ble, give·a·ble, adjective, noun
  • giver, noun
  • non·giv·ing, adjective
  • re·give, verb re·gave, re·giv·en, re·giv·ing.
  • self-giving, adjective
  • un·give·a·ble, adjective
  • un·giv·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use give in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for give


/ (ɡɪv) /

verbgives, giving, gave (ɡeɪv) or given (ˈɡɪvən) (mainly tr)
  1. (also intr) to present or deliver voluntarily (something that is one's own) to the permanent possession of another or others

  2. (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

  1. to place in the temporary possession of another: I gave him my watch while I went swimming

  2. (when intr, foll by of) to grant, provide, or bestow: give me some advice

  3. to administer: to give a reprimand

  4. to award or attribute: to give blame, praise, etc

  5. to be a source of: he gives no trouble

  6. to impart or communicate: to give news; give a person a cold

  7. to utter or emit: to give a shout

  8. to perform, make, or do: the car gave a jolt and stopped

  9. to sacrifice or devote: he gave his life for his country

  10. to surrender: to give place to others

  11. to concede or yield: I will give you this game

  12. (intr) informal to happen: what gives?

  13. (often foll by to) to cause; lead: she gave me to believe that she would come

  14. (foll by for) to value (something) at: I don't give anything for his promises

  15. to perform or present as an entertainment: to give a play

  16. to propose as a toast: I give you the Queen

  17. (intr) to yield or break under force or pressure: this surface will give if you sit on it; his courage will never give

  18. give as good as one gets to respond to verbal or bodily blows to at least an equal extent as those received

  19. give battle to commence fighting

  20. give birth (often foll by to)

    • to bear (offspring)

    • to produce, originate, or create (an idea, plan, etc)

  21. give a person five or give a person some skin slang to greet or congratulate someone by slapping raised hands

  22. give ground to draw back or retreat

  23. give it up for someone slang to applaud someone

  24. give someone one British slang to have sex with someone

  25. give rise to to be the cause of

  26. give me informal I prefer: give me hot weather any day!

  27. give or take plus or minus: three thousand people came, give or take a few hundred

  28. give way See way (def. 24)

  29. give a person what for informal to punish or reprimand a person severely

  1. 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

Origin of give

Old English giefan; related to Old Norse gefa, Gothic giban, Old High German geban, Swedish giva

Derived forms of give

  • givable or giveable, adjective
  • giver, noun

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with give


In addition to the idioms beginning with give

  • give a bad name to
  • give a break
  • give a damn
  • give a good account of oneself
  • give a hand
  • give a hang
  • give a hard time
  • give a hoot
  • give a leg up
  • give and take
  • give an inch and they'll take a mile
  • give a pain
  • give a piece of one's mind
  • give as good as one gets
  • give a shit
  • give away
  • give a wide berth
  • give bad marks to
  • give birth to
  • give chase
  • give color to
  • give credit
  • give free rein to
  • give ground
  • give in
  • give it one's best shot
  • give it to
  • give me a break
  • give notice
  • given to
  • give off
  • give of oneself
  • give one
  • give oneself airs
  • give oneself away
  • give oneself up
  • give one's eyeteeth
  • give or take
  • give out
  • give over
  • give pause
  • give rein to
  • give rise to
  • give short shrift
  • give someone
  • give someone a break
  • give someone a ring
  • give someone heart failure
  • give someone hell
  • give someone his or her due
  • give someone his or her head
  • give someone the air
  • give someone the evil eye
  • give someone the once-over
  • give someone enough rope
  • give someone fits
  • give something a whirl
  • give thanks for small blessings
  • give the back of one's hand
  • give the benefit of the doubt
  • give the business
  • give the creeps
  • give the devil his due
  • give the eye
  • give the finger
  • give the go-ahead
  • give the lie to
  • give the shirt off one's back
  • give the slip
  • give the time of day
  • give the word
  • give the works
  • give to understand
  • give up
  • give up the ghost
  • give vent to
  • give voice to
  • give way
  • give way to
  • give what for

also see:

  • hard time (give someone a)
  • Indian giver
  • never give a sucker an even break
  • not care (give) a rap
  • not give someone the time of day
  • what's cooking (gives)

Also see under idioms beginning withget and have.

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