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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


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.
See also: and, everybody, uncle

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.
See also: and, everyone, uncle

Dutch uncle

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.
See also: Dutch, uncle

everybody and his brother

 and 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.
See also: and, brother, everybody

holler uncle

 and 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.
See also: holler, 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!

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.
See also: 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.
See also: tom, uncle

Uncle Sam

the government or the country of the United States These smaller countries resent being so dependent on Uncle Sam for protection.
See say uncle
See also: SAM, 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

Dutch uncle

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]
See also: Dutch, uncle

talk to

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. Whiskers

and 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

Uncle Whiskers

See also: uncle, Whisker

say uncle

tv. to admit defeat; to give up. I never say uncle. I just keep right on going.
See also: say, uncle

Uncle nab

n. a policeman. Watch out for Uncle nab. He’s been asking about you.
See also: nab, uncle

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.
See also: SAM, uncle

Uncle Sugar

See also: sugar, uncle



monkey's uncle

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
References in classic literature ?
There is," remarked Mills calmly, "but I don't remember any aunt or uncle in that connection.
The magistrate now considered it his duty to send a couple of constables to search the chamber of the accused in the house of his uncle.
But my uncle led me to his drugstore, where the stage was to call for me, and made me taste a little camphor; with this prophylactic, Cervantes and I somehow got home together alive.
You can tell them this if you will, Cecil, - my uncle Lord Davenant, your mother, and whoever had a say in this miserable affair.
As she leaned over her little balcony, watching an early bird get the worm, and wondering how she should like Uncle Alec, she saw a man leap the garden wall and come whistling up the path.
The mother, the two daughters, and young Mr Nightingale, were now sat down to supper together, when the uncle was, at his own desire, introduced without any ceremony into the company, to all of whom he was well known; for he had several times visited his nephew at that house.
Since these were the consequences of going to law, his father was really blamable, as his aunts and uncles had always said he was; and it was a significant indication of Tom's character, that though he thought his aunts ought to do something more for his mother, he felt nothing like Maggie's violent resentment against them for showing no eager tenderness and generosity.
His desk and private drawers, in a room contiguous to his bedchamber, had been ransacked; money and valuable articles were missing; there was a bloody hand-print on the old man's linen; and, by a powerfully welded chain of deductive evidence, the guilt of the robbery and apparent murder had been fixed on Clifford, then residing with his uncle in the House of the Seven Gables.
With Tom it was awful; it 'most petrified him to think maybe he had got his uncle into a thousand times more trouble than ever, and maybe it wouldn't ever happened if he hadn't been so ambitious to get celebrated, and let the corpse alone the way the others done.
I and my uncle were out fishing in our little boat, when the pirates came and caught us.
You must know that all this time the king, my uncle, was absent on a hunting expedition, and as no one knew when he would be back, I at last decided to return home, leaving the ministers to make my excuses.
said Fanny: "in my opinion, my uncle would not like any addition.
One evening he asked whether he might go home with her; but his aunt was afraid that he might catch something, and his uncle said that evil communications corrupted good manners.
You mustn't think we'll be in anyone's way, Uncle," she said.
Hilbery, looking at her with her odd sidelong glance, that was half malicious and half tender, would liken her to "your wicked old Uncle Judge Peter, who used to be heard delivering sentence of death in the bathroom.