give up the ghost

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give up the ghost

1. Of a person, to die. Based on how the nurses are talking, it sounds like Great Uncle Edmund is going to give up the ghost sooner than later.
2. Of a machine, to stop working. Can you get a new coffee pot while you're at the mall? Ours has finally given up the ghost.
3. To abandon some task because it seems doomed. I don't think anyone is coming to the lecture today, so we might as well give up the ghost.
See also: ghost, give, up
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

give up the ghost

Euph. to die. (Fixed order. Often used to describe machines breaking down.) The old man gave up the ghost. My poor old car finally gave up the ghost.
See also: ghost, give, up
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

give up the ghost

Die, as in At ten o'clock he gave up the ghost. This expression, which employs ghost in the sense of "the soul or spirit," may itself be dying out. [Late 1300s]
See also: ghost, give, up
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.

give up the ghost

1. If you give up the ghost, you stop trying to do something, because you no longer believe that you can succeed. In Manhattan there was no Memorial Day parade this year. The organizers said they've given up the ghost after so few people came to see it last year. Even 17 points behind the leaders, the team still haven't given up the ghost.
2. If a machine gives up the ghost, it stops working. Danny's car has finally given up the ghost. This week, our water heater gave up the ghost.
3. If a person or plant gives up the ghost, they die. There was a tree at the bottom of the garden that had clearly given up the ghost a few years previously.
See also: ghost, give, up
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

give up the ghost

1 (of a person) die. 2 (of a machine) stop working; break down, especially permanently. 3 stop making an effort; give up hope.
The Old English meaning of ghost , ‘the soul or spirit as the source of life’, survives only in this idiom.
See also: ghost, give, up
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

give up the ˈghost


1 (old-fashioned) die
Ghost in this idiom means ‘soul’ or ‘spirit’.

2 (humorous) (of a machine, etc.) stop working because it is so old: My old computer has finally given up the ghost, so I’m getting a new one.
3 (of a person) stop making an effort; stop working: She persuaded me to carry on when I was tempted to give up the ghost.
See also: ghost, give, up
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

give up the ghost

To cease living or functioning; die.
See also: ghost, give, up
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.

give up the ghost, to

To die. This expression, common throughout English literature but now dying out, first appears in the Bible, in the Book of Job (14:10), “Man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost.” The ghost here is the soul, thought to be separated from the body upon death.
See also: give, to, up
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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