1. Lit. to retreat, yielding land or territory. I approached the barking dog, but it wouldn't give ground.
2. Fig. to "retreat" from an idea or assertion that one has made. When I argue with Mary, she never gives ground.
lose ground (to someone or something)
to fall behind someone or something. I am losing ground to Wendy in the sales contest. We were losing ground to the opposite team in our quest for the trophy.
Yield to a stronger force, retreat, as in He began to give ground on that point, although he didn't stop arguing entirely. This expression originated in the 1500s, when it alluded to a military force retreating and so giving up territory to the enemy. By the mid-1600s it was being used figuratively.
Fail to hold one's position; fall behind, deteriorate. For example, The Democrats were losing ground in this district, or We thought Grandma was getting better, but now she's quickly losing ground. This expression originally referred to territory lost by a retreating army. [Second half of 1700s]
COMMON If someone or something loses ground, they lose some of the power or advantage that they had previously. There is no doubt that the city has lost ground in the race to establish itself as a financial centre for Europe. The Socialists lost ground in some areas such as the Cote d'Azur and parts of the Languedoc. Compare with gain ground.
give/lose ˈground (to somebody/something)allow somebody/something to obtain more power, influence, etc. than yourself: The government has lost ground to the opposition, according to the opinion polls.
To yield to a more powerful force; retreat.