Definition of give way in English:

give way

See synonyms for give way


  • 1Yield to someone or something.

    ‘he was not a man to give way to this kind of pressure’
    • ‘Still, Governor Carey gave way and approved a bailout.’
    • ‘It was at this point that the World Bank gave way, and agreed to an independent review on the project - the first in its history.’
    • ‘In giving way on compulsory student unionism, Beazley is clearing the decks for more important issues, like Industrial Relations.’
    • ‘A less common insinuation, though still a fascinating one, was that he was behaving hypocritically, since even he knew that he would eventually have to give way.’
    • ‘His American counterpart Hal Sutton tried all he could to counter what he saw as a piece of cunning propaganda by his opposite number, but the figures spoke for themselves and he had to give way.’
    • ‘Henry was defeated and forced to give way; news that John also had joined his enemies hastened the King's death near Tours in 1189.’
    • ‘The politician, who had originally opposed the party making such a decision and supported the use of military force, gave way and voted for the resolution.’
    • ‘A determined battle can make sure that the Labour government is forced to give way.’
    • ‘The company resisted as far as it could, but was forced to give way under the joint pressure of the workers and the government.’
    • ‘He wouldn't give way, as hard as Alexandra tried.’
    yield, back down, make concessions, surrender, admit defeat, concede defeat, give in, give up, submit, succumb, raise the white flag, show the white flag
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    1. 1.1(of a support or structure) be unable to carry a load or withstand a force; collapse or break.
      ‘Halfway up the slope Kevin's legs finally gave way and he collapsed.’
      • ‘Before anyone could reach me, my legs gave way and I collapsed onto the floor.’
      • ‘The ceiling collapsed in as the girders gave way and the support beams snapped.’
      • ‘I started to feel very weak and wobbly and my legs gave way beneath me and I collapsed.’
      • ‘Often support beams would give way under the pressure of shifting rock.’
      • ‘Suddenly, without warning, when she was nearing her eightieth press-up, her arms gave way and she collapsed.’
      • ‘Her knees shook and then gave way as she collapsed in exhaustion.’
      • ‘As he stood there helplessly watching, the foundation post gave way and the house collapsed.’
      • ‘But once the upper floors began to give way, terrible force was set in motion.’
      • ‘The river was wide at this point of crossing, and the ice could easily give way.’
      • ‘They were old and loose, so they would, hopefully, give way easily.’
      • ‘He just barely made it across, huge chunks of the ridge giving way under his feet.’
      • ‘I yanked a little harder until the lock gave way.’
      collapse, give, fall to pieces, come apart, crumple, crumble, cave in, fall in, disintegrate, go to pieces
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    2. 1.2give way toAllow oneself to be overcome by or to succumb to (an emotion or impulse)
      ‘she gave way to a burst of weeping’
      • ‘And to give way to this impulse (submit to this discipline) is to experience a peculiar pleasure.’
      • ‘She tried to contain her agony as best she could but felt herself giving way to a series of small whimpers that overcame her shaking body.’
      • ‘Then, on impulse, she kissed him, finally giving way to the feelings she had hidden for so many months.’
      succumb, yield, give in, submit, surrender, fall victim
      be replaced by, be succeeded by, be followed by, be superseded by, be supplanted by, be ousted by
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  • 2Allow someone or something to be or go first.

    ‘ give way to traffic coming from the right’
    • ‘A couple of years ago you could always rely on a lorry driver to give way and allow you to pass.’
    • ‘Whereupon I checked my rearview mirror to make sure traffic was giving way, and saw our director hurtling towards me at 60 mph.’
    • ‘Traffic emerging from Bradford should then give way, which all except left-hand drive vehicles can do readily without having a problem.’
    • ‘Traffic lights were green with a sign indicating that traffic making a left turn should give way.’
    • ‘There is a certain amount of smug satisfaction to be gained from having greater access than the numerous Mercedes and BMWs which are forced to give way in the leafy lanes.’
    • ‘Police were also filming at intersections where they had received complaints from pedestrians worried about cars not giving way.’
    • ‘Indeed the new roundabout appeared to be working much better than the one at Circular Road/Killala Road where motorists still stop when they should go and go when they should stop and give way.’
    • ‘I constantly witness individuals exchanging obscenities because neither wishes to pull over and give way.’
    • ‘Cars waiting to turn right on to Carleton Road from Skipton hold all the outgoing traffic up as cars coming into Skipton won't give way on a green light.’
    • ‘Something is required on Oak Lane where drivers - you know who you are - coming from North Park Road pull straight out instead of giving way, as they should according to the sign.’
    • ‘It is not clear who has priority and who has to give way.’
    1. 2.1give way toBe replaced or superseded by.
      ‘Alan's discomfort gave way to anger’
      • ‘Unfortunately, as old houses and small lanes give way to skyscrapers, ancient trees have been chopped down.’
      • ‘The meadow was now giving way to slender trees and spreading bushes.’
      • ‘This nettles her at first and gradually the anger and irritation give way to a secret longing for him to look at her.’
      • ‘They say it is a sign of health when depression gives way to anger.’
      • ‘As we waited, annoyed discontent began to give way to barely controllable rage.’
      • ‘Eventually the eucalyptus and green fields of the valley bottom give way again to the lush sub-tropical rainforest that grows on the surrounding sandstone escarpments.’
      • ‘It is distressing to see the impulse for integration give way to calls for segregation.’
      • ‘Calm, however, is gradually giving way to more negative emotions.’
      • ‘His intuition that public life is indeed intellectually diminished gives way to a humble acceptance of the world as it is.’
      • ‘The politics of consensus and conciliation gave way to the politics of confrontation and intrigue.’
      • ‘The darkness surrendered to light, midnight blue giving way to resplendent golds and luminous pinks.’