Language: Old English
Origin: giefan


1 verb
Related topics: Law
give1 S1 W1 past tense gave past participle given

present or money

[intransitive and transitive] to let someone have something as a present, or to provide something for someone
give somebody something
What did Bob give you for your birthday?
Researchers were given a £10,000 grant to continue their work.
I've got some old diaries that my grandmother gave me years ago.
give something to somebody
a ring which was given to him by his mother
I didn't steal it! Maria gave it to me!
Most people are willing to give to charity.
The situation is now desperate, so please give generously.
! Do not say 'give to somebody something': He gave me a card (NOT gave to me a card).They gave a prize to the best chef (NOT They gave to the best chef a prize).

put something in somebody's hand

[transitive] to put something in someone's hand
give somebody something
Give me the letter, please.
give something to somebody
He poured some wine into a glass and gave it to her.

let somebody do something

[transitive] to allow or make it possible for someone to do something
give somebody something
He finally gave us permission to leave.
These meetings give everyone a chance to express their opinions.
Students are given the freedom to choose their own topics.
Language gives us the ability to communicate at a much higher level than any other animal.
Women were given the vote in the early 1900's.
give somebody control/authority/responsibility etc
She was given absolute control over all recruitment decisions.
give something to somebody
This bill will give more power to local authorities.

tell somebody something

[transitive] to tell someone information or details about something, or to tell someone what they should do:
She gave me some information on university courses.
My secretary will be able to give you more details.
Let me give you some advice.
give orders/instructions
She certainly likes giving orders.
They were given strict instructions not to tell anyone.
Can you give me directions to the station? (=tell me how to go there)
He gave the following example.
You may have to give evidence in court (=tell a court about what you have seen or know to be true).
give an account/description
He gave a disturbing account of the murder.

make a movement/do an action

[transitive] to do something by making a movement with your hand, face, body etc
give a smile/laugh/grin/frown/yawn etc
She gave a little frown.
Joel gave me a smile as I walked in.
He gave her a big hug.
give a wave/movement/signal
He gave a wave of his hand.
Don't move until I give the signal.
give something a shake/rattle/tug etc
She picked up the envelope and gave it a shake.


[transitive]AP to make a speech, perform a piece of music etc for a group of people
give a talk/speech/lecture
He's giving a talk on early Roman pottery.
give a performance/display
They gave one of their best performances to date.

make somebody have a feeling

[transitive] to make someone have a feeling
give somebody something
He gave us quite a shock.
The course has given me a lot more confidence.
His job did not give him much sense of fulfilment.
give something to somebody
Their music has given pleasure to a lot of people over the years.
give somebody a headache/hangover
Keep the noise down - you're giving me a headache!

make somebody have problems

[transitive]SCL to make someone have problems
give somebody problems/trouble/difficulties
The new software has given us quite a few problems.

make somebody ill

[transitive] to infect someone with the same illness that you have
give somebody something
Don't come too close - I don't want you to give me your cold!
give something to somebody
It's very unlikely a doctor could give HIV to a patient.

organize a social event

[transitive] to organize a social event such as a party [= hold, put on]:
We're giving a small party for dad's birthday next week.

make somebody do something

[transitive] to tell someone to do a job or piece of work
give somebody work/homework etc
How much homework are you given in a week?
He's always giving us chores to do around the house.

make somebody/something have a quality

[transitive] to make someone or something have a particular quality [= lend]
give somebody/something sth
The ginger gives the dish a wonderful spicy flavour.
His grey hair gave him an air of distinction.
Its association with the movie industry has given the place a certain glamor.

pay for

[transitive] to pay a particular amount of money for something:
They say they're not willing to give any more than they've already offered.
give somebody something for something
They gave us £700 for our old car.
How much will you give me for these two games?

behave towards

[transitive] to behave towards someone in a way that shows you have a particular attitude or feeling towards them
give somebody loyalty/obedience/respect
The people were expected to give their leader absolute obedience and loyalty.


[transitive] to officially say that someone must have a particular punishment
give somebody a fine/a sentence
If you don't pay on time, you could be given a fine of up to $1000.
give somebody 6 months/3 years etc (=in prison)
The judge gave her two years in prison.

give (somebody) an impression/a sense/an idea

to make someone think about something in a particular way:
I didn't want to give him the wrong idea about the job.
The report gives us a very accurate picture of life in the inner cities.

give something thought/attention/consideration etc

also give thought/attention/consideration etc to something to spend some time thinking about something carefully:
Congress has been giving the crime bill serious consideration.
I'll give the matter some thought and let you know my decision next week.

give (somebody) a hand

spoken to help someone do something:
Can you give me a hand?
give (somebody) a hand with
Shall I give you a hand with that bag?

give somebody a call/buzz

informal also give somebody a ring/bell British English to telephone someone:
I'll give you a call about seven, okay?

give something a try/shot/whirl

informal also give something a go British English to try to do something, especially something you have not done before:
I'm not usually much good at this sort of game, but I'll give it a go.

give somebody time/a few weeks/all day etc

to allow time for someone to do something, or for something to happen:
I've asked him to give me a couple more days to finish my essay.
Flexible working hours could give working parents more time to spend with their children.

I give it six weeks/a month etc

spoken used to say that you do not think something will continue successfully for very long:
I give the project six months at the most before it all falls apart.

not give something a second thought/another thought

to not think or worry about something at all:
The matter didn't seem important, and I hardly gave it a second thought.

be less strict

[intransitive] to be willing to change what you think or do according to what else happens:
I think that both sides need to give a little.

state a decision

[transitive] British EnglishDS to state what your official decision or judgement is, for example in a game:
The referee has given a penalty.
The jury will be giving its verdict within the next couple of days.

give a mark/score

[transitive] to decide that someone should have a particular score or mark for something that they have done:
She only gave me a B for my last essay.
The judges have given him top marks for this performance.


[intransitive] if a material gives, it bends or stretches when you put pressure on it:
New shoes often feel tight, but the leather should give a little after a few days.


[intransitive] if something gives, it breaks or moves away suddenly because of weight or pressure on it:
The branch suddenly gave beneath him.
I pushed against the door with all my might, but it still wouldn't give.

give me something (any day/time)

spoken used to say that you like something much more than something else:
Give me good old-fashioned rock 'n' roll any day!

would give anything/a lot/your right arm etc for something

spoken used when you would like something very much:
I'd give my right arm for a figure like that.

not give a damn/shit etc

spoken not polite used to say that you do not care at all about something:
I don't give a damn what you think.

don't give me that

spoken used to say that you do not believe someone's excuse or explanation:
Don't give me that! I know exactly where you've been!

give somebody what for

spoken to tell someone angrily that you are annoyed with them:
I'll give that boy what for when I see him!

give as good as you get

to fight or argue with someone using the same amount of skill or force that they are using:
I don't worry about Emma because I know she can give as good as she gets.

give and take

informal to help other people and do things for them as well as expecting them to do things for you:
You have to learn to give and take in any relationship.

give or take a few minutes/a penny/a mile etc

spoken used to say that the amount or figure that you have just mentioned is nearly correct, but not exactly:
It'll be a thousand pounds, give or take fifty or so.

I'll give you that

spoken used to admit that someone is right about something:
I was wrong to trust him, I'll give you that.

give somebody to understand/think/believe something

formal to make someone think that a particular thing is true:
I was given to understand that I would be offered a permanent job.

give it to somebody straight

informal to tell someone something in a clear direct way:
There's no point in beating about the bush, so I'll give it to you straight.

I give you the chairman/prime minister/groom etc

British English spoken used at the end of a formal speech to invite people to welcome a special guest


[transitive] old-fashioned if a woman gives herself to a man, she has sex with him
put something in someone's hand: hand, pass

officially give something to someone: award, present, grant, confer, allocate

give something to people in a group: hand out, pass around, distribute

give to a charity: donate

give something to people after you die: leave, pass on, bequeath

give somebody/something away

phrasal verb
1 to give something to someone because you do not want or need it for yourself:
I gave most of my books away when I left college.
give somebody/something away to
Give your old clothes away to a thrift shop.
2 to give something to someone without asking for any money, rather than selling it to them:
We're giving away a free diary with tomorrow's newspaper.
give somebody/something away to
We have 1,000 CDs to give away to our readers.
3 to show where someone is or what they are doing or thinking when they are trying to keep this a secret:
Don't worry, I won't give you away.
Sue tried to smile, but her voice gave her away.
give yourself away
I knew that if I moved I would give myself away.
The look on his face gave the game away (=showed something that he was trying to keep secret).
4 to tell someone something that you should keep secret:
He gave away as little information as possible.
I don't want to give away exactly how the system works.
I don't want to give the game away (=give information that should be secret) by saying too much.
5 to lose in a game or competition by doing something badly or making mistakes:
We gave away two goals in the first half.
The Democrats are now in danger of giving the whole election away.
6 to give formal permission for a woman to marry a man as part of a traditional wedding ceremony

give something ↔ back

phrasal verb
1 to give something to the person it belongs to or the person who gave it to you:
This isn't your money and you must give it back.
Of course you can have a look at it, as long as you give it back.
give something back to somebody
I'll give the keys back to you tomorrow morning.
give somebody something ↔ back
Her ex-husband refused to give her back any of her old photos and letters.
2 to make it possible for someone to have or do something again [= restore]
give somebody something ↔ back
He underwent an expensive operation to give him back his sight.
The company finally agreed to give the women their old jobs back.
give something back to somebody
This legislation will give more power back to local authorities.

give in

phrasal verb
1 to finally agree to do or accept something that you had at first opposed, especially because someone has forced or persuaded you to:
Eventually I gave in and accepted the job on their terms.
Bob's wife went on at him so much that eventually he gave in.
give in to
The government refused to give in to their demands.
2 to accept that you are defeated in a game, fight, competition etc [↪ surrender]:
The rebels were eventually forced to give in.
We will carry on fighting to the end. We will never give in.

give something ↔ in

British English to give a piece of work or something you have written to someone in authority [= hand in]:
You were supposed to give this work in four days ago.
Rose decided to give in her notice (=officially say she was going to leave her job).
give something ↔ in to
All assignments must be given in to your teacher by Friday.

give in to something

phrasal verb
to no longer try to stop yourself from doing something you want to do:
Don't give in to the temptation to argue back.
If you feel the urge for a cigarette, try not to give in to it.

give of something

phrasal verb
if you give of yourself, your time, your money etc, you do things for other people without expecting anything in return:
Retired people are often willing to give of their time to help with community projects.

give off something

phrasal verb
to produce a smell, light, heat, a sound etc:
The wood gave off a sweet, perfumed smell as it burned.

give onto something

phrasal verb
if a window, door, or building gives onto a particular place, it leads to that place or you can see that place from it:
the garden gate that gives onto the main road
a small balcony giving onto fields

give out

phrasal verb

give something ↔ out

to give something to each person in a group [= hand out]:
Can you give the drinks out, please?
give something ↔ out to
Students were giving out leaflets to everyone on the street.
2 if part of your body gives out, it stops working properly or becomes much weaker:
Just as I approached the town, my legs finally gave out.
3 if a supply of something gives out, there is none left:
My money was beginning to give out and there were no jobs to be found.
After two hours her patience gave out.

give out something

to produce something such as light, heat, or a signal [= emit]:
A gas lamp gave out a pale yellowish light.

give something ↔ out

British English formal to announce something, especially officially:
It was given out that the government was to enter into negotiations with the rebels.

give over

phrasal verb
to stop doing or saying something that is annoying other people:
I wish you lot would just give over!
give over doing something
Oh, give over complaining, we're nearly there.

give something over to somebody/something

phrasal verb

be given over to something

to be used for a particular purpose:
The land surrounding the village was given over to vineyards.
The whole day was given over to cooking and preparing for the celebrations.

give yourself over to something

to spend all your time doing something:
In his youth he had given himself over to pleasure.
3 to give responsibility for or control over something to a particular person, organization etc:
The running of internal affairs was given over to the Chancellor.

give up

phrasal verb

give something ↔ up

to stop doing something, especially something that you do regularly:
Darren has decided to give up football at the end of this season.
She gave up her job and started writing poetry.
give up doing something
I gave up going to the theatre when I moved out of London.
Why don't you give up smoking?
2 to stop trying to do something:
We spent half an hour looking for the keys, but eventually gave up and went home.
I give up. What's the answer?
You shouldn't give up so easily.
give up doing something
I gave up trying to persuade him to continue with his studies.
give something ↔ up
She has still not given up the search.

give yourself/somebody up

to allow yourself or someone else to be caught by the police or enemy soldiers:
The siege ended peacefully after the gunman gave himself up.
give yourself/somebody up to
In the end, his family gave him up to the police.

give up something

to use some of your time to do a particular thing:
I don't mind giving up a couple of hours a week to deal with correspondence.

give something/somebody ↔ up

to give something that is yours to someone else:
The family refused to give up any of their land.
She was put under tremendous pressure to give the baby up.
give something/somebody ↔ up to
I would always give my seat up to an elderly person on the bus.

give somebody ↔ up

to end a romantic relationship with someone, even though you do not really want to:
I knew deep down that I should give him up.

give somebody up for dead/lost etc

to believe that someone is dead and stop looking for them:
The ship sank and the crew were given up for dead.

➔ give up the ghost

at ghost1 (5)

give up on somebody/something

phrasal verb
to stop hoping that someone or something will change or improve:
He'd been in a coma for six months, and doctors had almost given up on him.
At that point, I hadn't completely given up on the marriage.

give yourself up to something

phrasal verb
to allow yourself to feel an emotion completely, without trying to control it:
He gave himself up to despair.

say, tell, give, ask
You use say when you are mentioning someone's exact words 'Hello,' she said. Someone said, 'Let's go!'Say can be followed by 'that' He said that he was tired. In speech people often leave out 'that' They said there had been a mistake.Say can be followed by 'something', 'anything', 'nothing', or 'so' Did you say something? Nobody dared to say anything. You have to come - Dad said so.It can also be followed by 'goodbye' or 'hello' I'll just go and say hello to David.Apart from these uses, say is not normally followed by an object. For example, it cannot be followed by 'a story', 'a lie', 'some information', or 'an answer'. You tell a story, a joke, a lie, or the truth They told a funny story about their trip. You give information, an order, an instruction, or an answer He gave no reply.!! You do not say a question. You ask a question Can I ask a question?You can say something to someone Has he said something to you?When talking about giving information, it is more usual to say that you tell someone something Clare told us something interesting (NOT said us something...). Can anyone tell me what time it is? (NOT say to me what...) You can tell someone about something Did you tell Lucy about the party? (NOT say to Lucy about...)You can say to do something, but it is more usual to tell someone to do something The teacher told us to open our books (NOT said us/said to us to...).See also say

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