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give - definition and synonyms

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verb     give pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
present tense
present participlegiving
past tensegave
past participlegiven
  1. 1
    [transitive] to put something in someone’s hand, or to pass something to someone
    give someone something:

    Could you give me that pen?

    give something to someone:

    She gave the flowers to me to hold.

    1. a.
      [transitive] to let someone have or keep something as a present
      give someone something:

      We don’t know what to give Dad for Christmas.

    2. b.
      [intransitive/transitive] to do something good or helpful for someone

      a relationship where one partner gives more than the other

      Aid will be given to areas hardest hit by the flooding.

      give someone help/support/encouragement:

      Thanks for all the support you’ve given us.

  2. 2
    [transitive] to make someone the owner of something that you owned
    give someone something:

    Will the new tax laws make people give the government more of their property?

    give something to someone:

    There are tax advantages if you give the house to your children.

  3. 3
    [transitive] to put medicine into someone’s body using a particular method

    Can’t you give her anything for the pain?

  4. 4
    [transitive] to cause a general result or effect
    1. a.
      to make someone feel or experience something
      give someone something:

      These stories have given people enormous pleasure over the years.

      give someone trouble/problems/grief:

      Since we replaced the clutch, the car has given us no trouble at all.

    2. b.
      to make something look, taste, smell, sound, or feel a particular way
    3. c.
      to make someone think or believe something
      give someone the idea/impression (that):

      She gave us the distinct impression that the work was nearly finished.

      be given to understand/believe something:

      formal The hotel isn’t as luxurious as we were given to understand in the brochure.

  5. 5
    [transitive] to show or communicate information

    If you see him, will you give him a message from me?

    They gave me all the instructions over the phone.

    The answers are given on page 100.

  6. 6
    to perform an action to someone or something
    give someone something:

    I gave him a hug before I left.

    We need to give the dog a bath this weekend.

    give someone a call (=to phone someone):

    I’ll give you a call on Sunday.

    Synonyms and related words
    1. a.
      used about a speech, talk, etc

      Someone from the university will give a talk on the future of education.

    2. b.
      to attempt to do something
      give something a try/shot:

      I’d never ridden a horse before, but I was prepared to give it a try.

    3. c.
      to spend time thinking about something before you make a decision or judgment about it
      give something thought/attention/consideration:

      We’ll give your suggestions some thought and let you know what we decide.

  7. 7
    [transitive] to perform a particular action
    give a laugh/smile:

    She gave a short, mirthless laugh.

    Synonyms and related words
  8. 8
    [transitive] to allow someone to take action

    Permission to build on the site had to be given by the zoning board.

    1. a.
      to allow someone to do something before other people
      give preference/priority to someone:

      When selecting applicants, priority is usually given to those with experience.

    2. b.
      to allow someone a limited time to do something
      give someone something:

      They have given us six months to develop a new billing system.

  9. 9
    [transitive] to pass an illness or disease to another person
    give someone something:

    She gave the whole office the flu.

    give something to someone:

    You could easily give the disease to your partner.

  10. 10
    [transitive] spoken to pay money for something

    How much did they give you for your old car?

    give someone something:

    Martin gave me $500 for my computer.

    1. a.
      [intransitive/transitive] to pay money to charity (=organizations that help people)

      We always give to charity at Christmas.

      give something to someone:

      We prefer to give our money to local causes.

    2. b.
      [transitive] to provide a large amount of money, for example a loan or a grant
      give something to someone:

      The Small Business Association gives loans to new businesses.

  11. 11
    [intransitive] if something gives, it stretches, bends, or moves

    The bridge has to be able to give a little in the wind.

    1. a.
      if something that supports or holds something gives, it breaks

      The floor of the platform might give if too many people walk on it.

      Synonyms and related words
  12. 12
    [intransitive] if someone gives, they agree to change a decision, opinion, or intention

    I tried to get my husband to come with me, but he wouldn’t give.

  13. 13
    [transitive] if you give yourself to something, you use all your time and energy to do it

    They expect you to give yourself to the job completely.

    1. a.
      old-fashioned if you give yourself to someone, you have sex with them
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to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

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Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

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