give

1 of 2

verb

gave ˈgāv How to pronounce give (audio) ; given ˈgi-vən How to pronounce give (audio) ; giving

transitive verb

1
: to make a present of
give a doll to a child
2
a
: to grant or bestow by formal action
the law gives citizens the right to vote
b
: to accord or yield to another
gave him her confidence
3
a
: to put into the possession of another for his or her use
gave me his phone number
b(1)
: to administer as a sacrament
(2)
: to administer as a medicine
c
: to commit to another as a trust or responsibility and usually for an expressed reason
d
: to transfer from one's authority or custody
the sheriff gave the prisoner to the warden
e
: to execute and deliver
all employees must give bond
f
: to convey to another
give them my regards
4
a
: to offer to the action of another : proffer
gave her his hand
b
dated, of a woman : to yield (oneself) to a man in sexual intercourse
5
a
: to present in public performance
give a concert
b
: to present to view or observation
gave the signal to start
6
: to provide by way of entertainment
give a party
7
: to propose as a toast
8
a
: to designate as a share or portion : allot
all the earth to thee and to thy race I giveJohn Milton
b
: to make assignment of (a name)
c
: to set forth as an actual or hypothetical datum
give the dimensions of the room
d
: to attribute in thought or utterance : ascribe
gave the credit to you
9
a
: to yield as a product, consequence, or effect : produce
cows give milk
84 divided by 12 gives 7
b
: to bring forth : bear
10
a
: to yield possession of by way of exchange : pay
b
: to dispose of for a price : sell
11
a
: to deliver by some bodily action
gave him a push
b
: to carry out (a movement, facial expression, etc.)
gave a cynical smile
c
: to inflict as punishment
d
: to award by formal verdict
judgment was given against the plaintiff
12
: to offer for consideration, acceptance, or use
gives no reason for his absence
13
a
: to suffer the loss of : sacrifice
gallantly gave his life for his country
b
: to offer as appropriate or due especially to something higher or more worthy
gave his spirit to God
c
: to apply freely or fully : devote
gave themselves to their work
d
: to offer as a pledge
I give you my word
14
a
: to cause one to have or receive
mountains always gave him pleasure
b
: to cause a person to catch by contagion, infection, or exposure
15
a
: to allow one to have or take
give me time
b
: to lead or attempt to lead
used with an infinitive
you gave me to understand you'd be late
16
: to care to the extent of
didn't give a hoot

intransitive verb

1
: to make gifts or presents
gave generously to charities
2
a
: to yield to physical force or strain
b
: to collapse from the application of force or pressure
The canvas chair gave under her weight.
c
: to undergo or submit to change
for the strike to be settled, something has to give
3
: to afford a view or passage : open
the window gives onto the terrace
4
: to enter wholeheartedly into an activity
5
slang : to be happening
wants to know what gives

give

2 of 2

noun

1
: capacity or tendency to yield to force or strain : flexibility
2
: the ability of a material to bend or stretch
The knitted fabric has a lot of give to it.
Phrases
give birth
: to have a baby
gave birth last Thursday
give birth to
1
: to produce as offspring
gave birth to a son
2
: to be the source of
give chase
: to set off in pursuit
give ground
: to withdraw before superior force : retreat
give of
: to make available : provide generously
freely gave of their time
give or take
: as an estimate accurate within (an amount to be added or subtracted)
weighs 150 pounds, give or take a few pounds
give place to
: to be replaced or succeeded by
optimism gave place to worry
give rise to
: to be the cause or source of : produce
give the gun
: to open the throttle of : speed up
give the lie to
1
: to accuse of falsehood
2
: to show to be false, inaccurate, or invalid
give tongue
of hounds : to begin barking on the scent
give way
1
a
b
: to yield the right of way
2
: to yield oneself without restraint or control
3
a
: to yield to or as if to physical stress
The roof gave way under heavy snow.
b
: to yield to entreaty or insistence
After several hours of debate, the opposition finally gave way.
4
: to yield place
Farmland has given way to shopping malls.
5
: to begin to row
Choose the Right Synonym for give

give, present, donate, bestow, confer, afford mean to convey to another as a possession.

give, the general term, is applicable to any passing over of anything by any means.

give alms
gave her a ride on a pony
give my love to your mother

present carries a note of formality and ceremony.

present an award

donate is likely to imply a publicized giving (as to charity).

donate a piano to the orphanage

bestow implies the conveying of something as a gift and may suggest condescension on the part of the giver.

bestow unwanted advice

confer implies a gracious giving (as of a favor or honor).

confer an honorary degree

afford implies a giving or bestowing usually as a natural or legitimate consequence of the character of the giver.

the trees afford shade
a development that affords us some hope

Examples of give in a Sentence

Verb She gave him a camera for Christmas. Are you giving this to me or only lending it? She has given money to many worthy causes. They're asking people to give money for a new hospital. Please give to our charity. We already gave at the office. It is better to give than to receive. He gave me the letter. He gave her his coat to hold. He gave me a head start.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
The doughnut chain is giving members of its Krispy Kreme rewards loyalty program a free doughnut every Tuesday and a free iced coffee every Friday with any purchase in July, the company says. Gabe Hauari, USA TODAY, 15 July 2024 Advisers say Biden's response to the shocking assassination attempt gives him an opening to try to lower the overall temperature in the country. Mike Allen, Axios, 14 July 2024
Noun
There is an entirely different stance, protective advance and assets put in place for sitting presidents versus campaign stops, and that is a constant give and take. ABC News, 14 July 2024 In your efforts to protect your autonomy, don’t forget that relationships require some give and take. Tatum Hunter, Washington Post, 9 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for give 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'give.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Swedish giva to give; akin to Old English giefan, gifan to give, and perhaps to Latin habēre to have, hold

Noun

derivative of give entry 1

First Known Use

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1868, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of give was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near give

Cite this Entry

“Give.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/give. Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

give

1 of 2 verb
gave ˈgāv How to pronounce give (audio) ; given ˈgiv-ən How to pronounce give (audio) ; giving
1
: to make a present of
gave me a book
2
b
: to make a donation
give blood
we already gave at the office
c
: to grant or yield to another
gave her trust to her friend
3
a
: to put into the possession or keeping of another
give me the letter to mail
b
: to offer to another : proffer
gave his hand to the visitor
c
: pay entry 1 sense 1
wouldn't give a penny for that bike
4
a
: to present in public performance
give a concert
b
: to present to view
gave the signal to start
5
: to provide by way of entertainment
give a party
6
: to point out or set aside as a share or portion
gave their daughter half of their estate
7
: to indicate the source or cause of
gave all the glory to her mother
8
: to form, make, or yield as a product or result
cows give milk
84 divided by 12 gives 7
9
a
: to deliver by some bodily action
gave me a push
b
: to carry out a movement : perform
gave a sudden leap
c
: pronounce sense 1
give judgment
10
: to offer for consideration or acceptance
gives no reason for his absence
11
: to apply fully : devote
gave herself to the cause
12
: to cause to have
gave pleasure to the reader
13
: to yield or collapse under force or pressure
the box gave under his foot
giver noun

give

2 of 2 noun
1
: tendency to yield to force or strain
2
: the quality or state of being springy

Medical Definition

give

transitive verb
gave ˈgāv How to pronounce give (audio) ; given ˈgiv-ən How to pronounce give (audio) ; giving
1
: to administer as a medicine
2
: to cause a person to catch by contagion, infection, or exposure

Legal Definition

give

transitive verb
gave; given; giving
1
a
: to make a gift of
I give the remainder of my estate to my wife
compare convey, sell
b
: to grant or bestow by formal action
the law gives citizens the right to vote
2
a
: to transfer from one's authority or custody
the sheriff gave the prisoner to the warden
b
: to execute and deliver
all officers must give bond
c
: to communicate or impart to another
failed to give adequate notice
d
: to offer or submit for the consideration of another
give testimony in court
3
: to yield possession of by way of exchange
4
a
: to impose as punishment
b
: to award by formal verdict
judgment was given against the plaintiff
giver noun

More from Merriam-Webster on give

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!