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From Middle English given, from Old Norse gefa (to give), from Proto-Germanic *gebaną (to give). Displaced or merged with native Middle English yiven, ȝeven, from Old English ġiefan, from the same Proto-Germanic source (compare the obsolete inherited English doublet yive).

Cognate with Scots gie (to give), Danish give (to give), Swedish giva, ge (to give), Icelandic gefa (to give), North Frisian jiw, jiiw, jeewe (to give), West Frisian jaan (to give), Low German geven (to give), Dutch geven (to give), German geben (to give).


give (third-person singular simple present gives, present participle giving, simple past gave, past participle given)

  1. (transitive, may take two objects) To move, shift, provide something abstract or concrete to someone or something or somewhere.
    1. To transfer one's possession or holding of (something) to (someone).
      I gave him my coat.
      I gave my coat to the beggar.
      When they asked, I gave my coat.
    2. To make a present or gift of.
      I'm going to give my wife a necklace for her birthday.
      She gave a pair of shoes to her husband for their anniversary.
      He gives of his energies to the organization.
    3. To pledge.
      I gave him my word that I'd protect his children.
    4. To provide (something) to (someone), to allow or afford.
      I gave them permission to miss tomorrow's class.
      Please give me some more time.
    5. To cause (a sensation or feeling) to exist in.
      It gives me a lot of pleasure to be here tonight.
      The fence gave me an electric shock.
      My mother-in-law gives me nothing but grief.
    6. To carry out (a physical interaction) with (something).
      I want to give you a kiss.
      She gave him a hug.
      I'd like to give the tire a kick.
      I gave the boy a push on the swing.
      She gave me a wink afterwards, so I knew she was joking.
      • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 5, in The Celebrity:
        Then came a maid with hand-bag and shawls, and after her a tall young lady. She stood for a moment holding her skirt above the grimy steps, with something of the stately pose which Richter has given his Queen Louise on the stairway, [] .
    7. To pass (something) into (someone's) hand or the like.
      Give me your hand.
      On entering the house, he gave his coat to the doorman.
    8. To cause (a disease or condition) in, or to transmit (a disease or condition) to.
      My boyfriend gave me chlamydia.
      He was convinced that it was his alcoholism that gave him cancer.
  2. (transitive, may take two objects) To estimate or predict (a duration or probability) for (something).
    I give it ten minutes before he gives up.
    I give it a 95% chance of success.
    I'll give their marriage six months.
  3. (intransitive) To yield slightly when a force is applied.
    • 1992 December 16, Garry Wills, “prologue”, in Lincoln at Gettysburg, page 21:
      A soldier noticed how earth "gave" as he walked over the shallow trenches.
  4. (intransitive) To collapse under pressure or force.
    One pillar gave, then more, and suddenly the whole floor pancaked onto the floor below.
  5. (transitive) To provide, as, a service or a broadcast.
    They're giving my favorite show!
    • 2003, Iain Aitken, Value-Driven IT Management: Commercializing the IT Function, page 153
      [] who did not have a culture in which 'giving good presentation' and successfully playing the internal political game was the way up.
    • 2006, Christopher Matthew Spencer The Ebay Entrepreneur, page 248
      A friendly voice on the phone welcoming prospective new clients is a must. Don't underestimate the importance of giving good "phone".
  6. (intransitive) To lead (onto or into).
    The master bedroom gives onto a spacious balcony.
  7. (transitive, dated) To provide a view of.
    His window gave the park.
  8. To exhibit as a product or result; to produce; to yield.
    The number of men, divided by the number of ships, gives four hundred to each ship.
  9. To cause; to make; used with the infinitive.
    • Shakespeare
      But there the duke was given to understand / That in a gondola were seen together / Lorenzo and his amorous Jessica.
  10. To allow or admit by way of supposition.
    • Milton
      I give not heaven for lost.
  11. To attribute; to assign; to adjudge.
    • Sheridan
      I don't wonder at people's giving him to me as a lover.
  12. To communicate or announce (advice, tidings, etc.); to pronounce or utter (an opinion, a judgment, a shout, etc.).
  13. (dated) To grant power or permission to; to allow.
    • Rowe
      It is given me once again to behold my friend.
    • Alexander Pope
      Then give thy friend to shed the sacred wine.
  14. (reflexive) To devote or apply (oneself).
    The soldiers give themselves to plunder.
    That boy is given to fits of bad temper.
  15. (obsolete) To become soft or moist.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Francis Bacon to this entry?)
  16. (obsolete) To shed tears; to weep.
    • Shakespeare
      Whose eyes do never give / But through lust and laughter.
  17. (obsolete) To have a misgiving.
    • J. Webster
      My mind gives ye're reserved / To rob poor market women.
  18. To be going on, to be occurring
    What gives?



  • (transfer possession of): get, obtain, receive, take
  • (bend slightly when a force is applied): not bend/cede/flex/give/move/yield, resist

Derived termsEdit

See also given, giver and giving


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


give (uncountable)

  1. (uncountable) The amount of bending that something undergoes when a force is applied to it; a tendency to yield under pressure; resilence.
    This chair doesn't have much give.
    There is no give in his dogmatic religious beliefs.



  • give at OneLook Dictionary Search


Alternative formsEdit

  • gi' (representing the spoken language)


From Old Norse gefa, from Proto-Germanic *gebaną, from Proto-Indo-European *gʰab(ʰ)-.




  1. to give


Derived termsEdit