cry uncle

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Related to cried uncle: yelling uncle

cry uncle

To admit defeat and/or plead for mercy, especially in an informal physical contest of some kind. The brothers often play fought, but it was invariably the younger of the two who had to cry uncle by the end.
See also: cry, uncle

cry uncle

Also, say uncle. Concede defeat, as in The Serbs want the Bosnians to cry uncle, or If you say uncle right now, I'll let you go first in the next game. This phrase originated about 1900 as an imperative among school-children who would say, "Cry uncle when you've had enough (of a beating)." By the mid-1900s it was being used figuratively, as in the examples.
See also: cry, uncle