\ˈgiv \
gave\ ˈgāv \; given\ ˈgi-​vən \; giving

Definition of give 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make a present of give a doll to a child

2a : 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

3a : 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

4a : 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

5a : 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

8a : to designate as a share or portion : allot all the earth to thee and to thy race I give— John 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

9a : to yield as a product, consequence, or effect : produce cows give milk 84 divided by 12 gives 7

b : to bring forth : bear

10a : to yield possession of by way of exchange : pay

b : to dispose of for a price : sell

11a : 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

13a : 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

14a : to cause one to have or receive mountains always gave him pleasure

b : to cause a person to catch by contagion, infection, or exposure

15a : 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

2a : 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 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

1a : retreat

b : to yield the right of way

2 : to yield oneself without restraint or control

3a : 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



Definition of give (Entry 2 of 2)

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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


give, present, and donate mean to hand over to someone without looking for a return. give can be used of anything that is delivered in any way. Please give me your coat. I gave a friend a gift. present is used when something is given with some ceremony. They presented a trophy to the winner. donate is used for giving to a charity. Some kind person donated the toys.

Examples of give in a Sentence


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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Royals shortstop had the longest active consecutive-games streak at 421 until manager Ned Yost decided to give him a day off last week. Paul Sullivan,, "Clubhouse policeman Bud Norris creating latest controversy in St. Louis," 14 July 2018 Not long ago, the Padres were considering not even starting Lauer on Sunday in order to give him even more time off. Kevin Acee,, "Padres notes: Stammen runs into Utley; Lauer's limit; Lyles' rehab," 13 July 2018 Michigan City's Mike McCullough ran for an 11-yard touchdown on the North's opening drive of the second half to give them their first lead 21-14. Rich Torress, Indianapolis Star, "North extends winning streak to four in IFCA All-Star game," 13 July 2018 Apply in Small-to-Big Loops To give yourself a mini-facial moment, Shiseido recommends a quick massage technique. The Cut, "How to Get the Most Out of Your Serum," 13 July 2018 Next stop: card-dealing robots that don’t give themselves panic attacks. Matt Simon, WIRED, "Robots Can't Hold Stuff Very Well. But You Can Help," 13 July 2018 According to a report given to the board last month, Oak Valley’s enrollment has continued to rise and currently exceeds the school’s optimum facility capacity of 1,354 students. Elizabeth Marie Himchak, Pomerado News, "Two 4S Ranch campuses to get new classrooms," 12 July 2018 Rookie winger Chris Mueller found Dwyer and Orlando City’s leading goal scorer was given space near the top of the penalty area. Jordan Culver, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando City earns 2-1 win over Toronto FC, snaps nine-match MLS losing skid," 14 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The annual give-away is sponsored by the Excell Marketing Corporation, a consortium of nearly 200 restaurant supply dealers to which Ramar Supply belongs. Donna Vickroy, Daily Southtown, "The Center's new commercial-grade kitchen to honor Homer Glen man who battled heroin addiction," 14 July 2018 The satisfaction, rather, is in seeing things play out with a lot of refreshingly democratic give-and-take. Michael Phillips,, "'Uncle Drew': Lil Rel Howery coaches NBA all-stars to surprising win," 26 June 2018 But breakthroughs in talks will most likely involve a lot of give and take. Eric Talmadge, Fox News, "Analysis: What to look for at US-North Korea summit," 10 June 2018 There are approximately seven fluid ounces in a double vodka tonic - give or take, depending on how generous Frontier Airlines is with the pour. The Washington Post,, "A man's grabby hands were just the start of a Frontier plane nightmare, FBI says," 21 May 2018 The survey found the public gives Trump the benefit of the doubt, narrowly, on how to interpret the give-and-take of the summit. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Trump team cannot get its story straight on separating migrant families," 18 June 2018 Freeze for 1 to 1½ hours, or until the lamb is very chilled but has a little give on the surface. Sheryl Julian,, "Recipe: Get a skillet blazing hot and you can make Middle Eastern lamb shawarma at home," 28 May 2018 The two players born in the 21st-century, Tim Weah and Josh Sargent, demonstrated some chemistry early, linking up on a sixth-minute give-and-go that resulted in Weah’s dangerous cross to Rubio Rubin. Brian Straus,, "Young USMNT Builds on Tactical Foundation, Eases to Win Over Bolivia," 28 May 2018 The palm rest, display, touchpad, and keyboard hardly exhibit any noticeable give — there are no wobbly underside or clicking fans here. Stefan Etienne, The Verge, "Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 review: jack of all trades," 2 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'give.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of give


13th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1868, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for give


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


see give entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about give

Statistics for give

Last Updated

31 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for give

The first known use of give was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for give


\ˈgiv \
gave\ ˈgāv \; given\ ˈgiv-​ən \; giving

Kids Definition of give

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to hand over to be kept : present He gave her a present.

2 : to cause to have Don't give me trouble.

3 : to let someone or something have give permission

4 : to offer for consideration or acceptance Can you give an example?

5 : utter entry 2 give a yell give a speech

6 : furnish sense 2, provide give support The candle gives light. I'm giving a party.

7 : pay entry 1 sense 1 She gave me 20 dollars for my old skates.

8 : to deliver by some bodily action I gave her a hug.

9 : to yield as a product : produce Two plus two gives four.

10 : to yield slightly The mattress gave under our weight.

give in

: to stop trying to fight I begged Mom for permission till she gave in.

give out

1 : tell sense 6 Don't give out your phone number.

2 : to stop working The car finally gave out.

give up

1 : to let go of He gave up his seat to an elderly woman.

2 : quit Oh, I give up trying to reason with you.

give way

1 : to break down : collapse The bridge gave way.

2 : to be unable to resist No one gave way to fear.



Kids Definition of give (Entry 2 of 2)

: the ability to be bent or stretched The rope was tight, but still had some give.

\ˈgiv \
gave\ ˈgāv \; given\ ˈgiv-​ən \; giving

Medical Definition of give 

1 : to administer as a medicine

2 : to cause a person to catch by contagion, infection, or exposure

give birth

: to have a baby gave birth last Thursday

give birth to

: to produce as offspring gave birth to a daughter

gave; given; giving

Legal Definition of give 

1a : 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

2a : 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

4a : to impose as punishment

b : to award by formal verdict judgment was given against the plaintiff

Other Words from give

giver noun

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on give

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for give

Spanish Central: Translation of give

Nglish: Translation of give for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of give for Arabic Speakers

Comments on give

What made you want to look up give? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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