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Definition of give verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



/ɡɪv/ give pronunciation American
/ɡeɪv/ gave pronunciation American
, given
/ˈɡɪvn/ given pronunciation American


1 [transitive] to hand something to someone so that they can look at it, use it, or keep it for a time give something to someoneGive the letter to your mother after you read it.She gave her ticket to the usher. give someone somethingGive your mother the letter.They were all given a box to carry.2 [transitive, intransitive] to hand something to someone as a present; to allow someone to have something as a present give someone somethingWhat are you giving your father for his birthday?We gave her a huge bunch of flowers.Did you give the waiter a tip? give something to someoneWe don't usually give presents to people at work. give (something)They say it's better to give than to receive.3 [transitive] to provide someone with something give someone somethingThey were all thirsty so I gave them a drink.Give me your name and address.We've been given a 2% pay increase.I was hoping you would give me a job.He was given a new heart in a five-hour operation.She wants a job that gives her more responsibility.Can I give you a ride to the airport?They couldn't give me any more information.I'll give you (= allow you to have) ten minutes to prepare your answer.Don't give me any of that back talk (= don't be rude). give something to someoneHe gives Italian lessons to his colleagues.The reforms should give a better chance to the less able children.


4 [intransitive, transitive] to pay money to a charity, etc., to help peopleWe need your help—please give generously. give to somethingThey both gave regularly to charity. give something (to something)I gave a small donation.5 [transitive] to pay in order to have or do something give someone something (for something)How much will you give me for the car? give somethingI'd give anything to see him again.

treat as important

6 [transitive] to use time, energy, etc. for someone or something give someone/something sthI gave the matter a lot of thought. give something to someone/somethingI gave a lot of thought to the matter.The government has given top priority to reforming the tax system.


7 [transitive] to make someone suffer a particular punishment give someone somethingThe judge gave him a nine-month suspended sentence. give something to someoneWe discussed what punishment should be given to the boys.


8 [transitive] to infect someone with an illness give someone somethingYou've given me your cold. give something to someoneShe gave the bug to all her colleagues.


9 [transitive] give something if you give a party, you organize it and invite people10 [transitive] give something to perform something in publicShe gave a reading from her latest volume of poetry.The President will be giving a press conference this afternoon.

do/produce something

11 [transitive] used with a noun to describe a particular action, giving the same meaning as the related verb give somethingShe gave a shrug of her shoulders (= she shrug ged).He turned to us and gave a big smile (= smiled broadly).She looked up from her work and gave a yawn (= yawned).He gave a loud cry (= cried out loudly) and fell to the floor.Her work has given pleasure to (= pleased) millions of readers. give someone somethingHe gave her a kiss (= kissed her).I have to admit that the news gave us a shock (= shocked us).We'll give you all the help we can (= help you in every way we can).help For other similar expressions, look up the nouns in each. For example, you will find give your approval at approval.12 [transitive] give someone something to produce a particular feeling in someoneAll that driving has given me a headache.Go for a walk. It'll give you an appetite.

telephone call

13 [transitive] give someone something to make a telephone call to someoneGive me a call tomorrow.I'll give you a ring in the morning.


14 [transitive] give someone/something sthgive something (to someone/something) to judge someone or something to be of a particular standardShe gave me an A on my essay.I give it ten out of ten for originality.I'm giving a failing grade to anyone who doesn't complete this assignment.

predict how long

15 [transitive] give someone/something sth to predict that something will last a particular length of timeThat marriage won't last. I'll give them two years, at the most.


16 [intransitive] to bend or stretch under pressureThe branch began to give under his weight.(figurative)We can't go on like this— something's got to give.17 [intransitive] to agree to change your mind or give up some of your demandsYou're going to have to give a little.
Most idioms containing give are at the entries for the nouns and adjectives in the idioms. For example, give rise to something is at rise n.

don't give me that

(informal) used to tell someone that you do not accept what they say“I didn't have time to do it.” “Oh, don't give me that!”don't give me that

give and take

to be willing, in a relationship, to accept what someone else wants and to give up some of what you want
You're going to have to learn to give and take.give and take

give as good as you get

to react with equal force when someone attacks or criticizes you
She can give as good as she gets.give as good as you get

give it up (for someone)

(informal) to show your approval of someone by clapping your handsGive it up for Eddie Murphy!give it upgive it up for

give me something/someone (any day/time)

(informal) used to say that you prefer a particular thing or person to the one that has just been mentionedWe don't go out much. Give me a quiet night in front of the TV any day!give megive me any daygive megive me any time

give or take (something)

if something is correct give or take a particular amount, it is approximately correct
It'll take about three weeks, give or take a day or so.give or take

give someone to believe/understand (that)…

[often passive] (formal) to make someone believe/understand somethingI was given to understand that she had resigned.give to believegive to believe thatgive to understandgive to understand that

I give you…

used to ask people to drink a toast to someone
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Hal Goodwin!I give you

I/I'll give you that

(informal) used when you are admitting that something is trueI give you thatI'll give you that

what gives?

(informal) what is happening?; what is the news?; what is the problem?what gives?

give someone away

(in a marriage ceremony) to lead the bride to the bridegroom and formally allow her to marry himThe bride was given away by her father.give away

give somethingaway

1 to give something as a giftHe gave away most of his money to charity.(informal)Check out the prices of our pizzas—we're virtually giving them away! related noun giveaway2 to present somethingThe mayor gave away the prizes at the community fair.3 to carelessly allow someone to have an advantageThey've given away two baskets already.give away

give something/someoneaway

to make known something that someone wants to keep secret synonym betrayShe gave away state secrets to the enemy.It was supposed to be a surprise but the children gave it away.His voice gave him away (= showed who he really was). related noun giveawaygive away

give someone back something


give somethingback (to someone)

1 to return something to its ownerCould you give me back my pen?Could you give me my pen back?I picked it up and gave it back to him.2 to allow someone to have something againThe operation gave him back the use of his legs.give back

give in (to someone/something)

1 to admit that you have been defeated by someone or somethingThe rebels were forced to give in.2 to agree to do something that you do not want to doThe authorities have shown no signs of giving in to the kidnappers' demands.give ingive in to

give off something

to produce something such as a smell, heat, light, etc.The flowers gave off a fragrant perfume.The fire doesn't seem to be giving off much heat.give off

give out

1 to come to an end; to be completely used upAfter a month their food supplies gave out.Her patience finally gave out.2 to stop workingOne of the plane's engines gave out shortly after takeoff.Her legs gave out and she collapsed.give out

give somethingout

to give something to a lot of peopleThe teacher gave out the test.give out

give out something

to produce something such as heat, light, etc.The radiator gives out a lot of heat.give out

give yourself over to something

(also give yourself up to something) to spend all your time doing something or thinking about something; to allow something to completely control your lifegive yourself over to

give somethingover to something

[usually passive] to use something for one particular purposeThis gallery is given over to early American furniture.give over to

give up

to stop trying to do somethingThey gave up without a fight.She doesn't give up easily.I give up—tell me the answer.give up

give someone up

1 (also give up on someone) to believe that someone is never going to arrive, get better, be found, etc.We hadn't heard from him for so long, we'd given him up for dead.There you are at last! We'd given up on you.2 to stop having a relationship with someoneWhy don't you give him up?give up

give somethingup

1 [no passive] to stop doing or having somethingWe'd given up hope of ever having children. give doing somethingYou ought to give up smoking.2 to spend time on a task that you would normally spend on something elseI gave up my weekend to help him paint his apartment.give up

give somethingup (to someone)

to hand something over to someone elseWe had to give our passports up to the authorities.He gave up his seat to a pregnant woman (= stood up to allow her to sit down).give upgive up to

give yourself/someone up (to someone)

to offer yourself/someone to be capturedAfter a week on the run he gave himself up to the police.give yourself upgive yourself up to

give yourself up to something

= give yourself over to somethinggive yourself up to

give up on someone

1 to stop hoping or believing that someone will change, get better, etc.His teachers seem to have given up on him.2 = give someone upgive up on