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.
To admit defeat and/or plead for mercy, especially in an informal physical contest of some kind. Can also be used as an imperative phrase to demand that someone give up or admit defeat. The brothers often play fought, but it was invariably the younger of the two who had to say uncle by the end. Say "uncle," and I'll let you out of this headlock!
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.
cry (or say or yell) unclesurrender or admit defeat. North American informal
1989 Guy Vanderhaeghe Homesick Beat him six ways to Sunday and he still would never cry uncle or allow that there was an outside chance of his ever being wrong.
cry/say ˈuncle(American English) admit that you have been beaten or defeated: They’re determined to make the President cry uncle in the budget debate.Originally, this comes from children’s games in which the child has to say the word ‘uncle’ to admit defeat.
tv. to admit defeat; to give up. I never say uncle. I just keep right on going.