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1. verb To collapse into a hollow area below, as of a physical structure or formation. We were able to get the kids out of the house before the roof caved in.
2. verb To collapse, faint, or die, as from over-exertion. I hardly remember the end of the marathon because I caved in as soon as I crossed the finish line.
3. verb To submit, concede, or yield (to someone or something); to surrender or acknowledge defeat. Under the threat of a strike, the management caved in and agreed to reinstate annual pay increases for all employees.
4. noun A collapse into a hollow area below, as of a physical structure or formation. When used as a noun, the phrase is usually hyphenated. The fear of every miner is a cave-in.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
cave in (to someone or something)
Fig. to give in to someone or something. Finally, the manager caved in to the customer's demands. I refuse to cave in under pressure from my opponent.
[for a roof or ceiling] to collapse. The roof of the mine caved in when no one was there. The tunnel caved in on the train.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Fall in, collapse, as in The earthquake made the walls cave in. [Early 1700s]
2. Give in, admit defeat, as in The prosecutor's questions soon made the witness cave in. [Early 1800s]
3. Collapse, faint, or die from exhaustion, as in After a twenty-mile hike I caved in. [Mid-1800s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
To give way; collapse: The sides of the snow fort caved in. The mine shaft caved in on a group of miners, but fortunately they were rescued.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.