Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal.
give (oneself) away
To reveal or make known—usually unintentionally—something about oneself, such as one's actions, intentions, ideas, guilt, etc. Margaret had been embezzling money from the corporate account for years, but she finally gave herself away when she claimed her two-month trip to Paris as a business expense. I wanted my acceptance to Harvard to be a surprise, but I gave myself away when I mentioned about moving in the autumn.
give someone or something away
to reveal a secret about someone or something. I thought no one knew where I was, but my loud breathing gave me away. We know that Billy ate the cherry pie. The cherry juice on his shirt gave him away. I had planned a surprise, but John gave away my secret.
give someone away(to someone)
1. Fig. [for the bride's father] to give the bride away to the groom. (Customarily done just prior to the actual marriage ceremony.) Mr. Franklin gave Amy away to Terry just as he had done in the rehearsal. He was reluctant to give his daughter away.
2. Fig. to reveal something secret about someone to someone else. Please don't give me away. I don't want anyone to know my plans. Alice did everything she could to keep from giving herself away.
give something away(to someone)
1. to donate to, or bestow something upon, someone. I gave the old clothing away to Tom. I gave away my coat to Tom.
2. to tell a secret to someone. Please don't give the surprise away to anyone. Don't give away my secret.
3. to reveal the answer to a question, riddle, or problem to someone. Don't give the answer away to them! Don't give away the answer!
1. Make a gift of, bestow, as in I decided to give away all my plants. [c. 1400]
2. Present a bride to the groom in a marriage ceremony, as in Her father gave Karen away. [c. 1700]
3. Reveal or make something known, often unintentionally; also, betray or expose someone. For example, She gave away her true feelings, or He gave away his accomplices. This idiom is sometimes put as give oneself away, as in If you don't want the family to know about your gambling, don't give yourself away by spending your winnings . [Late 1800s]
1. To relinquish something; give something to another: The store is giving away free samples of cheese. I gave my old clothes away to charity.
2. To present a bride to her bridegroom at a wedding ceremony: Very often, the father gives away the bride. I gave my daughter away at her wedding.
3. To reveal something or make something known, often accidentally; divulge something: The preview gave away the film's surprise ending. The tone of the teacher's voice gave the answer away.
4. To betray someone: I tried to pass for a local resident, but my accent gave me away.