I'm reading Women by Charles Bukowski and stumbled upon the following dialog:

Dee Dee was standing next to me. "Please tell her," she said, "to give me until September."

"Forget her," Lydia said. "To hell with her. You come up here and see me."

"I can't drop everything just because you phone. Besides," I said, "I'm giving Dee Dee until September."



A little bit of context: the conversation is being held over the phone between the narrator and his ex-girlfriend Lydia who's trying to get him back. Dee Dee is the narrator's current date.

What do the characters exactly mean by saying to give Dee Dee until September?

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    They mean that the narrator (I) is reserving judgement on Dee Dee until September. They will stay in whatever relation they currently have at least until September, presumably in order to see whether they will stay together longer. – John Lawler Jun 26 '14 at 22:19
  • Give in this sense implies a stay of execution or judgement. See definition 2.2 in ODO. – Andrew Leach Jun 26 '14 at 22:27
  • This question appears to be off-topic because it is about literary interpretation. – tchrist Jun 26 '14 at 22:33
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    @tchrist I have to disagree with you. I've pasted this passage only to provide a context for the phrase I haven't been familiar with. The story is irrelevant. – mariusz Jun 26 '14 at 22:55

To give [someone or something] until [a date or time] is to delay taking an action until that time. In the passage you quoted, the narrator is giving his relationship with Dee Dee until September before making any decision on what to do about Lydia. Sometimes the action to be taken is stated explicitly, and sometimes it is only implied, as in your quote.

In some cases, there may be a condition that can cut the delay short. For example, if I loan you money, I might give you until next week to pay me back, or I will charge you interest. If my friend is late for a meeting with me, I might give her until 4:00 to arrive, or I will go home. As with the action that is to be taken, the condition can be either stated explicitly or just implied.


In America all your food and canned goods should be done by then so it could be interpreted as having all ones ducks in a row.

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