cry uncle

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.

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

cry (or say or yell) uncle

surrender 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.
See also: cry, uncle

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.
See also: cry, say, uncle
References in periodicals archive ?
Is it to make it cry uncle and give up its nuclear program?
The new sanctions bill includes the favorite tool of Congress-a plan to sanction companies that sell Iran gasoline, which many in Congress believe is a magic pill that will lead the Islamic Republic to cry uncle and abandon its nuclear program.
No film should be penalized for seeking to entertain, but pic is so dense with layers of intrigue--and boasts nearly as many pre-endings as the final installment in "The Lord of the Rings"--that some viewers may cry uncle before the poignant conclusion.
We gave our rep a quick call to complain, but it became apparent the only way to go home was to cry uncle on the radio.
Reagan wants Nicaragua to cry uncle and surrender to his contras.