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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.
An exclamation of defeat and/or a plea for mercy, especially in an informal physical contest of some kind. Uncle! Uncle! Let me out of this headlock already!
everybody and his uncle
Used hyperbolically to express a large number or a majority of people. I'm so jealous, everybody and his uncle is going on a vacation this summer except for me.
everyone and his uncle
Used hyperbolically to express a large number or a majority of people. I'm so jealous, everyone and his uncle is going on a vacation this summer except for me.
a man who gives frank and direct advice to someone. (In the way an uncle might, but not a real relative.) I would not have to lecture you like a Dutch uncle if you were not so extravagant. He acts more like a Dutch uncle than a husband. He's forever telling her what to do in public.
everybody and his brotherand everybody and his uncle
Fig. everybody; lots of people. The state fair was packed. Everybody and his brother was there. Everybody and his uncle was asking me where you was today.
holler uncleand cry uncle; say uncle
Fig. to admit defeat. Joe kept pounding on Jim, trying to get him to holler uncle. He twisted my arm until I cried uncle.
I'll be a monkey's uncle!
Fig. I am amazed! A: I just won $500,000 in the lottery! B: Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle!
talk to someone
1. Lit. to speak to someone; to confer with someone. Talk to me! I really want your opinion. I will have to talk to Mark to see what he thinks.
2. Fig. to lecture to someone; to reprimand someone. I wish you would talk to your son. He is creating havoc in the classroom. I am going to have to talk to Roberta. She is not getting things clean.
See also: talk
Bob's your uncle!(British & Australian informal)
something that you say after you have explained how to do something, to emphasize that it will be simple and successful You simply put on the stain remover, leave it for an hour and Bob's your uncle, the stain's gone.
I'll be a monkey's uncle!(old-fashioned)
something that you say when you are very surprised Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle. I never thought Bill would remarry.
say uncle(American informal)
to admit that you have been defeated
Usage notes: In children's fights, a child being held down had to say 'uncle' before being allowed to get up.I'm determined to show them I can be a star. I'm not going to say uncle.
an Uncle Tom
a black person who is too eager to please white people
Usage notes: This phrase is from the book Uncle Tom's Cabin by H.B. Stowe, in which the main person in the story is a black slave. (= someone who is legally owned by another person)She was seen by other blacks in the neighborhood as an Uncle Tom for not complaining about police harassment.
the government or the country of the United States These smaller countries resent being so dependent on Uncle Sam for protection.See say 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.
A stern, candid critic or adviser, as in When I got in trouble with the teacher again, the principal talked to me like a Dutch uncle . This expression, often put as talk to one like a Dutch uncle, presumably alludes to the sternness and sobriety attributed to the Dutch. [Early 1800s]
Also, give a talking to. Scold, reprimand, as in The teacher said he'd have to talk to Jeff after school, or Dad gave us both a good talking to. [Colloquial; second half of 1800s] For talk to like a Dutch uncle, see Dutch uncle.
See also: talk
Mr. Whiskersand Uncle Whiskers and whiskers (man)
n. a federal agent. (Underworld. From the whiskers of Uncle Sam.) Mr. Whiskers is trying to get me to pay tax on those few bucks. If Uncle Whiskers finds out what you’re doing, you’re done for.
See also: Whisker
See Mr. Whiskers
tv. to admit defeat; to give up. I never say uncle. I just keep right on going.
n. a policeman. Watch out for Uncle nab. He’s been asking about you.
Uncle (Sam)and Uncle Sugar
1. n. the personification of the U.S. Uncle Sugar wants a little more of your money this year.
2. n. a federal agent; federal agents. Uncle has some pretty strong ideas about who’s in charge of this investigation.
An impossibility. Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, especially the notion that man was descended from apes, was greeted with much skepticism, and especially in parts of the English-speaking world where Creationism held sway. Hence the expression “Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle,” which was used to show grave doubts about any and all seemingly improbable situations. Another animal phrase used by doubters and scorners was “when pigs fly.”
See also: uncle