give up for dead(redirected from give them up for dead)
give (someone or something) up for dead
1. To abandon or leave someone behind because one assumes they are dead or are going to die. The noun or pronoun can also come after "up." The injuries were so severe that we had no choice but to give up the wounded soldiers for dead. The other members of his climbing expedition had given him up for dead, but he survived the fall and managed to crawl his way back to camp.
2. To abandon or ignore something, such as a project, company, plan, etc., because it is expected to fail or is not important enough to succeed. The noun or pronoun can also come after "up." I'm worried that this glitch will cause investors to give up our company for dead. We tried our best to get into the smartphone racket, but after we failed to gain any real traction in the market, app developers gave our new operating system up for dead after just six months.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
give someone up for dead
1. Lit. to give up hope for someone who is dying; to abandon a dying person as already dead. The cowboys gave up their comrade for dead and rode off. We gave up the poor old man for dead and went to telephone the police.
2. Fig. to abandon hope for someone to appear or arrive. We were delighted to see you. We had almost given you up for dead. After an hour, they gave up their guest for dead.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.