cry uncle

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Related to cried uncle: yelling uncle

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 ?
Greenspan began raising short-term interest rates in 1988, at the start of the Elder's presidency, and squeezed and squeezed until Elder cried uncle.
Or maybe his soul cried uncle and skittered off in horror to the heavenly ether.
The latest chunk of Presleyana for the faithful is a thoroughly reconfigured version of the film ``Elvis: That's the Way It Is,'' made a couple of years after the King's TV comeback and just before he cried uncle and succumbed to pills and selndulgence and management's propensity for hackery.
During the eleventh lap in the pattern, I cried uncle, and the pilot agreed to make the next approach the last.