Does it mean that you no longer want someone, or that you have to leave someone, like it or not?

closed as unclear what you're asking by FumbleFingers, choster, Hellion, RyeɃreḁd, Mari-Lou A Apr 10 '14 at 21:23

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    Give a sentence in context. There might be multiple meanings or it might be vague. – Mitch Apr 10 '14 at 11:43
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    Without further context this is just Too Broad. But in any given context, it should be easy enough to match the usage to the relevant dictionary definition. – FumbleFingers Apr 10 '14 at 13:01
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    What about in a phrase like "Never going to give you up"? eg in youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ – Chris Apr 10 '14 at 13:40

It could mean that you are turning them in, to the police for example. It could also mean you are giving them up, like a bad habit.

  • Why the downvote? If you downvote, please post a comment with your rationale. – teylyn Apr 10 '14 at 11:00
  • +1 Also ending a relationship, even if reluctantly. – bib Apr 10 '14 at 11:16
  • Good thought - I hadn't considered that one – Liath Apr 10 '14 at 13:12
  • @bib: Though for relationships, one would say give up on, as in putting distance between yourself and the other. – Damon Apr 10 '14 at 13:18
  • @Damon I want my wife back, despite her affair with you! Will you give her up? – bib Apr 10 '14 at 13:27

To give someone up might apply to someone putting up their child for adoption, or something of a similar nature.

She gave the baby up because she wasn't ready to be a mother.

She wants to give the baby up because she's not ready to be a mother.


The term "to give someone up" is often used when a person lets someone move on with their life.

An example would be a love triangle where Person A loves Person B but Person B loves Person C instead.

In this case if Person A was to back off, give some space to B and C you could say that person say has given them up.


If "give up someone" is used in a "dating" situation, it means to let them go, or to stop dating them, etc.

In a different context, it means to "turn in" (e.g. a suspected criminal) to the authorities.