Definition of give way in US English:

give way


  • 1Yield to someone or something.

    ‘he was not a man to give way to this kind of pressure’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In giving way on compulsory student unionism, Beazley is clearing the decks for more important issues, like Industrial Relations.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Still, Governor Carey gave way and approved a bailout.’
    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.
      • ‘As he stood there helplessly watching, the foundation post gave way and the house collapsed.’
      • ‘The ceiling collapsed in as the girders gave way and the support beams snapped.’
      • ‘Halfway up the slope Kevin's legs finally gave way and he collapsed.’
      • ‘Suddenly, without warning, when she was nearing her eightieth press-up, her arms gave way and she collapsed.’
      • ‘I started to feel very weak and wobbly and my legs gave way beneath me and I collapsed.’
      • ‘Before anyone could reach me, my legs gave way and I collapsed onto the floor.’
      • ‘They were old and loose, so they would, hopefully, give way easily.’
      • ‘The river was wide at this point of crossing, and the ice could easily give way.’
      • ‘Her knees shook and then gave way as she collapsed in exhaustion.’
      • ‘Often support beams would give way under the pressure of shifting rock.’
      • ‘But once the upper floors began to give way, terrible force was set in motion.’
      • ‘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 to Allow oneself to be overcome by or to succumb to (an emotion or impulse)
      ‘she gave way to a burst of weeping’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And to give way to this impulse (submit to this discipline) is to experience a peculiar pleasure.’
      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’
    • ‘Police were also filming at intersections where they had received complaints from pedestrians worried about cars not giving way.’
    • ‘It is not clear who has priority and who has to 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.’
    • ‘Traffic emerging from Bradford should then give way, which all except left-hand drive vehicles can do readily without having a problem.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Whereupon I checked my rearview mirror to make sure traffic was giving way, and saw our director hurtling towards me at 60 mph.’
    • ‘A couple of years ago you could always rely on a lorry driver to give way and allow you to pass.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Traffic lights were green with a sign indicating that traffic making a left turn should give way.’
    1. 2.1give way to Be replaced or superseded by.
      ‘Alan's discomfort gave way to anger’
      • ‘The politics of consensus and conciliation gave way to the politics of confrontation and intrigue.’
      • ‘The meadow was now giving way to slender trees and spreading bushes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They say it is a sign of health when depression gives way to anger.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, as old houses and small lanes give way to skyscrapers, ancient trees have been chopped down.’
      • ‘The darkness surrendered to light, midnight blue giving way to resplendent golds and luminous pinks.’
      • ‘As we waited, annoyed discontent began to give way to barely controllable rage.’
      • ‘This nettles her at first and gradually the anger and irritation give way to a secret longing for him to look at her.’