cry uncle

(redirected from cried uncle)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.
Related to cried uncle: yelling uncle

cry uncle

To admit defeat 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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
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.

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017


/say uncle Informal
To indicate a willingness to give up a fight or surrender: tickled my brother until he cried uncle.

cry (one's)

eyes/heart out
To weep inconsolably for a long time.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
classrooms, designating what was apartheid South Africa as "democratic" (since they had elections in which socialists did not win, albeit the majority could not vote), while designating what was Sandinista Nicaragua as "totalitarian" (since the majority voted socialist - but now that the United States held a gun to their heads and they "cried uncle," of course, Nicaragua now qualifies as a democracy, although poor children cannot afford to go to school).
In 1990, the ocean cried uncle. The catch dropped for the first time even though we were fishing as hard as ever.
Or maybe his soul cried uncle and skittered off in horror to the heavenly ether.
After 30 minutes of heading east, I cried uncle and contacted the ship.
Losing sight of the ground, we cried uncle. Doug told Yokota we were unable to maintain VMC and requested another approach and an initial steer.
During the eleventh lap in the pattern, I cried uncle, and the pilot agreed to make the next approach the last.