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Give (verb active)

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To Give. v.a. preter. gave; part. pass. given. [ʒifan, Saxon.]

  1. To bestow; to confer without any price or reward.

    This opinion abated the fear of death in them which were so resolved, and gave them courage to all adventures. Hooker.

    Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. Mat. xxv.

    Give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the Lord. Ex. x. 25.

    I had a master that gave me all I could ask, but thought fit to take one thing from me again. Temple.

    Constant at church and change; his gains were sure,
    His givings rare, save farthings to the poor.
    Pope's Epistles.

  2. To transmit from himself to another by hand, speech, or writing; to deliver; to impart; to communicate.

    The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. Gen. iii. 12.

    They were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage. Mat. xxiv. 38.

    Those bills were printed not only every week, but also a general account of the whole year was given in upon the Thursday before Christmas. Graunt's Bills of Mortality.

    We shall give an account of these phenomena. Burnet.

    Aristotle advises not poets to put things evidently false and impossible into their poems, nor gives them licence to run out into wildness. Broome's Notes on the Odyssey.

  3. To put into one's possession; to consign.

    Nature gives us many children and friends, to take them away; but takes none away to give them us again. Temple.

    Give me, says Archimedes, where to stand firm, and I will remove the earth. Temple.

    If the agreement of men first gave a sceptre into any one's hands, or put a crown on his head, that almost must direct its conveyance. Locke.

  4. To pay as price or reward, or in exchange.

    All that a man hath will he give for his life. Job ii. 4.

    If you did know to whom I gave the ring,
    If you did know for whom I gave the ring,
    And would conceive for what I gave the ring,
    And how unwillingly I left the ring,
    You would abate the strength of your displeasure.
    Shakesp.

    He would give his nuts for a piece of metal, and exchange his sheep for shells, or wool for a sparkling pebble. Locke.

  5. To yield; not to withhold.

    Philip, Alexander's father, gave sentence against a prisoner what time he was drowsy, and seemed to give small attention. The prisoner, after sentence was pronounced, said, I appeal: the king, somewhat stirred, said, To whom do you appeal? The prisoner answered, From Philip, when he gave no ear, to Philip, when he shall give ear. Bacon's Apophthegms.

    Constantia accused herself for having so tamely given an ear to the proposal. Addison's Spectator.

  6. To quit; to yield as due.

    Give place, thou stranger, to an honourable man. Ecclus.

  7. To confer; to impart.

    I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her. Gen. xvii.

    Nothing can give that to another which it hath not itself. Bramh. against Hobbs.

    What beauties I lose in some places, I give to others which had them not originally. Dryden's Fables, Preface.

  8. To expose.

    All clad in skins of beasts the jav'lin bear;
    Give to the wanton winds their flowing hair.
    Dryd. Æn.

  9. To grant; to allow.

    'Tis given me once again to behold my friend. Rowe.

    He has not given Luther fairer play. Atterbury.

  10. To yield; not to deny.

    I gave his wise proposal way;
    Nay, urg'd him to go on: the shallow fraud
    Will ruin him.
    Rowe's Ambitious Stepmother.

  11. To yield without resistance.

  12. To permit; to commission.

                        Prepare
    The due libation and the solemn pray'r;
    Then give thy friend to shed the sacred wine.
    Pope's Odyss.

  13. To enable; to allow.

    God himself requireth the lifting up of pure hands in prayers; and hath given the world to understand, that the wicked, though they cry, shall not be heard. Hooker.

                        Give me to know
    How this foul rout began, who set it on.
    Shakes. Othello.

    So some weak shoot, which else would poorly rise,
    Jove's tree adopts; and lifts into the skies;
    Through the new pulpil fost'ring juices flow,
    Thrust forth the gems, and give the flow'rs to blow.
    Tickel.

  14. To pay.

    The applause and approbation, most reverend for thy stretcht-out life, I give to both your speeches. Shak. Triol. and Cressida.

  15. To utter; to vent; to pronounce.

    So you must be the first that gives this sentence,
    And he that suffers.
    Shakesp. Measure for Measure.

    The Rhodians seeing their enemies turn their backs, gave a great shout in derision of them. Knolles's Hist. of the Turks.

    Let the first honest discoverer give the word about, that Wood's halfpence have been offered, and caution the poor people not to receive them. Swift.

  16. To exhibit; to express.

    This instance gives the impossibility of an eternal existence in any thing essentially alterable or corruptible. Hale.

  17. To exhibit as the product of a calculation.

    The number of men being divided by the number of ships, gives four hundred and twenty-four men a-piece. Arbuthnot.

  18. To do any act of which the consequence reaches others.

    As we desire to give no offence ourselves, so neither shall we take any at the difference of judgment in others. Burnet.

  19. To exhibit; to send forth as odours from any body.

    In oranges the ripping of their rind giveth out their smell more. Bacon.

  20. To addict; to apply.

    The Helots, of the other side, shutting their gates, gave themselves to bury their dead, to cure their wounds, and rest their wearied bodies. Sidney.

    After men began to grow to number, the first thing we read they gave themselves into, was the tilling of the earth and the feeding of cattle. Hooker, b. i.

    Groves and hill-altars were dangerous, in regard of the secret access which people superstitiously given might have always thereunto with ease. Hooker, b. v. s. 17.

    The duke is virtuous, mild, and too well given,
    To dream on evil, or to work my downfal.
    Shakes. H. VI.

    Fear him not, Cæsar, he's not dangerous:
    He is a noble Roman, and well given.
    Shakes. Julius Cæsar.

    His name is Falstaff: if that man should be lewdly given, he deceives me; for, Harry, I see virtue in his looks. Shakesp.

    Huniades, the scourge of the Turks, was dead long before; so was also Mathias: after whom succeeded others, given all to pleasure and ease. Knolles's History of the Turks.

    Though he was given to pleasure, yet he was likewise desirous of glory. Bacon's Henry VII.

    He that giveth his mind to the law of the most High, will seek out the wisdom of all the ancients. Ecclus. xxxix. 1.

    He is much given to contemplation, and the viewing of this theatre of the world. More's Antidote against Atheism.

    They who gave themselves to warlike action and enterprises, went immediately to the palace of Odin. Temple.

    Men are given to this licentious humour of scoffing at personal blemishes and defects. L'Estrange.

    Besides, he is too much given to horseplay in his raillery; and comes to battle, like a dictator from the plough. Dryden.

    I have some business of importance with her; but her husband is so horribly given to be jealous. Dryd. Spanish Fryar.

    What can I refuse to a man so charitably given? Dryden.

  21. To resign; to yield up.

    Finding ourselves in the midst of the greatest wilderness of waters, without victual, we gave ourselves for lost men, and prepared for death. Bacon's New Atlantis.

    Who say, I care not, those I give for lost;
    And to instruct them, will not quit the cost.
    Herbert.

                    Virtue giv'n for lost,
    Deprest and overthrown, as seem'd;
    Like that self-begott'n bird
    In the Arabian woods embost,
    That no second knows, nor third,
    And lay erewhile a holocaust,
    From out her ashy womb now teem'd.
    Milton's Agonistes.

    Since no deep within her gulph can hold
    Immortal vigour, though oppress'd and fall'n,
    I give not heaven for lost.
    Milton's Paradise Lost, b. ii.

    For a man to give his name to Christianity in those days, was to lift himself a martyr. South.

    Ours gives himself for gone; you've watch'd your time,
    He fights this day unarm'd, without his rhyme.
    Dryden.

    The parents, after a long search for the body, gave him for drowned in one of the canals. Addison's Spectator.

    As the hinder feet of the horse stuck to the mountain, while the body reared up in the air, the poet with great difficulty kept himself from sliding off his back, in so much that the people gave him for gone. Addison's Guardian.

  22. To conclude; to suppose.

    Whence came you here, O friend, and whither bound?
    All gave you lost on far Cyclopean ground.
    Garth's Ovid.

  23. To Give away. To alienate from one's self; to make over to another; to transfer.

    The more he got, the more he shewed that he gave away to his new mistress, when he betrayed his promises to the former. Sidney, b. ii.

                If you shall marry,
    You give away this hand, and that is mine;
    You give away heav'n's vows, and those are mine;
    You give away myself, which is known mine.
    Shakespeare.

    Honest company, I thank you all,
    That have beheld me give away myself
    To this most patient, sweet, and virtuous wife.
    Shakespeare.

    I know not how they sold themselves; but thou, like a kind fellow, gav'st thyself away gratis, and I thank thee for thee. Shakespeare's Henry IV. p. ii.

    Love gives away all things, that so he may advance the interest of the beloved person. Taylor's Rule of living holy.

    But we who give our native rights away,
    And our enslav'd posterity betray,
    Are now reduc'd to beg an alms, and go
    On holidays to see a puppet-show.
    Dryden's Juvenal's Sat.

    Alas, said I, man was made in vain! How is he given away to misery and mortality! Addison's Spectator, № 159.

    Theodosius arrived at a religious house in the city, where Constantia resided, and made himself one of the order, with a private vow never to inquire after Constantia, whom he looked upon as given away to his rival, upon the day on which their marriage was to have been solemnized. Addison's Spectat.

    Whatsoever we employ in charitable uses, during our lives, is given away from ourselves: what we bequeath at our death, is given from others only, as our nearest relations. Atterbury.

  24. To Give back. To return; to restore.

    'Till their vices perhaps give back all those advantages which their victories procured. Atterbury's Sermons.

  25. To Give forth. To publish; to tell.

    Soon after it was given forth, and believed by many, that the king was dead. Hayward.

  26. To Give the hand. To yield pre-eminence, as being subordinate or inferior.

    Lessons being free from some inconveniences, whereunto sermons are more subject, they may in this respect no less take than in others they must give the hand, which betokeneth pre-eminence. Hooker.

  27. To Give over. To leave; to quit; to cease.

    Let novelty therefore in this give over endless contradictions, and let ancient customs prevail. Hooker.

    It may be done rather than that be given over. Hooker.

              &nbs; Never give her o'er;
    For scorn at first makes after love the more.
    Shakespeare.

    If Desdemona will return me my jewels, I will give over my suit, and repent my unlawful solicitation. Shakes. Othello.

    Abdemelech, as one weary of the world, gave over all, and betook himself to a solitary life, and became monk. Knolles.

    All the soldiers, from the highest to the lowest, had solemnly sworn to defend the city, and not to give it over unto the last man. Knolles's History of the Turks.

    Sleep hath forsook and giv'n me o'er
    To death's benuming opium, as my only cure.
    Milton.

    Those troops, which were levied, have given over the prosecution of the war. Clarendon, b. viii.

    But worst of all to give her over,
    'Till she's as desperate to recover.
    Hudibras, p. iii. cant. 3.

    'Tis not amiss, e'er y' are giv'n o'er,
    To try one desp'rate med'cine more;
    And where your case can be no worse,
    The desp'ratest is the wisest course.
    Hudibras, p. ii.

    A woman had a hen that laid every day an egg: she fancied that upon a larger allowance this hen might lay twice a day; but the hen grew fat, and gave quite over laying. L'Estrange.

    Many have given over their pursuits after fame, either from the disappointments they have met, or from their experience of the little pleasure which attends it. Addison's Spectator.

  28. To Give over. To addict; to attach to.

    Zelmane, govern and direct me; for I am wholly given over unto thee. Sidney, b. ii.

    When the Babylonians had given themselves over to all manner of vice, it was time for the Lord, who had set up that empire, to pull it down. Grew's Cosmol. b. iii. c. 3.

    I used one thing ill, or gave myself so much over to it as to neglect what I owed either to him or the rest of the world. Temple's Miscellanies.

  29. To Give over. To conclude lost.

    Since it is lawful to practise upon them that are forsaken and given over, I will adventure to prescribe to you. Suckling.

    The abbess, finding that the physicians had given her over, told her that Theodosius was just gone before her, and had sent her his benediction. Addison's Spectator, № 164.

    Her condition was now quite desperate, all regular physicians, and her nearest relations, having given her over. Arbuth.

    Yet this false comfort never gives him o'er,
    That, whilst he creeps, his vigorous thoughts can soar.
    Pope.

    Not one foretells I shall recover;
    But all agree to give me over.
    Swift.

  30. To Give over. To abandon.

    The duty of uniformity throughout all churches, in all manner of indifferent ceremonies, will be very hard, and therefore best to give it over. Hooker, b. iv. s. 13.

    The cause, for which we fought and swore
    So boldly, shall we now give o'er?
    Hudibras, p. i. cant. 2.

  31. To Give out. To proclaim; to publish; to utter.

    The fathers give it out for a rule, that whatsoever Christ is said in Scripture to have received, the same we ought to apply only to the manhood of Christ. Hooker, b. v. s. 54.

    It is given out, that, sleeping in my orchard,
    A serpent stung me. So the whole ear of Denmark
    Is, by a forged process of my death,
    Rankly abused.
    Shakespeare's Hamlet.

    One that gives out himself prince Florizel,
    Son of Polixenes, with his princess.
    Shakes. Winter's Tale.

    It hath been given out, by an hypocritical thief, who was the first master of my ship, that I carried with me out of England twenty-two thousand of twenty-two shillings per piece. Raleigh's Apology.

    He gave out general summons for the assembly of his council for the wars. Knolles's History of the Turks.

    The night was distinguished by the orders which he gave out to his army, that they should forbear all insulting of their enemies. Addison's Freeholder, № 49.

  32. To Give out. To show in false appearance.

    His givings out were of an infinite distance
    From his true meant design.
    Shakesp. Meas. for Measure.

    She that, so young, could give out such a seeming,
    To seal her father's eyes up close as oak.
    Shakesp. Othello.

  33. To Give up. To resign; to quit; to yield.

    The people, weary of the miseries of war, would give him up, if they saw him shrink. Sidney, b. ii.

    He has betray'd your business, and given up
    For certain drops of salt your city Rome.
    Shak. Coriolanus.

    The sun, breaking out with his cheerful beams, revived many, before ready to give up the ghost for cold, and gave comfort to them all. Knolles's History of the Turks.

    He found the lord Hopton in trouble for the loss of the regiment of foot at Alton, and with the unexpected assurance of the giving up of Arundel-castle. Clarendon, b. viii.

    Let us give ourselves wholly up to Christ in heart and desire. Taylor's Rule of living holy.

    Such an expectation will never come to pass; therefore I'll e'en give it up, and go and fret myself. Collier against Despair.

    I can give up to the historians of your country the names of so many generals and heroes which crowd their annals. Dryd.

    He declares himself to be now satisfied to the contrary, in which he has given up the cause. Dryden.

    The leagues made between several states, disowning all claim to the land in the other's possession, have, by common consent, given up their pretences to their natural right. Locke.

    If they give them up to their reasons, then they with them give up all truth and farther enquiry, and think there is no such thing as certainty. Locke.

    We should see him give up again to the wild common of nature, whatever was more than would supply the conveniencies of life. Locke.

    Juba's surrender, since his father's death,
    Would give up Africk into Cæsar's hands,
    And make him lord of half the burning zone.
    Addis. Cato.

    Learn to be honest men, give up your leaders,
    And pardon shall descend on all the rest.
    Addison's Cato.

    A popish priest threatened to excommunicate a Northumberland squire, if he did not give up to him the church lands. Addison's Freeholder.

    He saw the celestial deities acting in a confederacy against him, and immediately gave up a cause which was excluded from all possibility of success. Addison's Freeholder.

    An old gentleman, who had been engaged in an argument with the emperor, upon his friend's telling him he wondered he would give up the question when he had the better, I am never ashamed, says he, to be confuted by one who is master of fifty legions. Addison's Spectator, № 239.

    He may be brought to give up the clearest evidence. Atterb.

    The constant health and longevity of men must be given up also, as a groundless conceit. Bentley's Sermons.

    Have the physicians giv'n up all their hopes?
    Cannot they add a few days to a monarch?
    Rowe.

    These people were obliged to demand peace, and give up to the Romans all their possessions in Sicily. Arbuthnot.

    Every one who will not ask for the conduct of God in the study of religion, has just reason to fear he shall be left of God, and given up a prey to a thousand prejudices, that he shall be consigned over to the follies of his own heart. Watts.

    Give yourself up to some hours of leisure. Watts.

  34. To Give up. To abandon.

    If any be given up to believe lyes, some must be first given up to tell them. Stillingfleet's Def. on Disc. on Rom. Idol.

    Our minds naturally give themselves up to every diversion which they are much accustomed to; and we always find that play, when followed with assiduity, engrosses the whole woman. Addison's Guardian, № 120.

    Give up your fond paternal pride,
    Nor argue on the weaker side.
    Swift.

    A good poet no sooner communicates his works, but it is imagined he is a vain young creature given up to the ambition of fame. Pope.

    I am obliged at this time to give up my whole application to Homer. Pope.

    Persons who, through misfortunes, chuse not to dress, should not, however, give up neatness. Clarissa.

  35. To Give up. To deliver.

    And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people to the king. 2 Sa. xxiv. 9.

    His accounts were confused, and he could not then give them up. Swift on the Dissent. in Athens and Rome.

Sources: The Bible - 2. Samuel (10) · Addison, Joseph (408) · Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well (21) · Arbuthnot, John (227) · Atterbury, Francis (75) · Bacon, Francis (396) · Bentley, Richard (57) · Bramhall, John (9) · Broome, William (16) · Burnet, Thomas (45) · Butler, Samuel (98) · Clarendon, Edward (73) · Collier, Jeremy (24) · Shakespeare's Coriolanus (80) · Dryden, John (788) · The Bible - Ecclesiasticus (27) · The Bible - Exodus (25) · Garth, Samuel (17) · The Bible - Genesis (48) · Graunt, John (10) · Grew, Nehemiah (36) · Hale, Matthew (49) · Shakespeare's Hamlet (60) · Hayward, John (42) · Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1 (46) · Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 2 (72) · Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 2 (49) · Herbert, George (10) · Hooker, Richard (175) · The Bible - Job (27) · Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (42) · Knolles, Richard (44) · L'Estrange, Roger (131) · Locke, John (269) · The Bible - Matthew (21) · Shakespeare's Measure for Measure (39) · Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice (83) · Milton, John (449) · More, Henry (28) · Shakespeare's Othello (60) · Pope, Alexander (393) · Raleigh, Walter (68) · Richardson, Samuel (11) · Rowe, Nicholas (21) · Sidney, Philip (140) · South, Robert (158) · Spectator (140) · Stillingfleet, Edward (38) · Suckling, John (16) · Swift, Jonathan (306) · Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew (71) · Taylor, Jeremy (57) · Temple, William (54) · Tickell, Thomas (12) · Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida (36) · Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona (41) · Watts, Isaac (117) · Shakespeare's Winter's Tale (43)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Give (verb active)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: June 3, 2013. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=5792.


  1. One of the quotes attributed to Pope (“Yet this false comfort never gives him o’er, / That, whilst he creeps, his vigorous thoughts can soar”) is from the poem “An Essay Upon Satire,” which is usually contributed to Dryden (with possible assistance by Lord Mulgrave [John Sheffield]).

  2. Brandi on June 3rd, 2013 at 8:38 am

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