say uncle, to

say uncle

To admit defeat or plead for mercy, especially in an informal physical contest of some kind. Can also be used as an imperative phrase to demand that someone give up or admit defeat. The brothers often play fought, but it was invariably the younger of the two who had to say uncle by the end. Say "uncle," and I'll let you out of this headlock!
See also: say, uncle

say uncle

tv. to admit defeat; to give up. I never say uncle. I just keep right on going.
See also: say, uncle

say uncle, to

To concede defeat. Also put as cry uncle, it is the schoolyard equivalent of “say when you’ve had enough of this battle.” The term is an Americanism dating from about 1900, and its original meaning (if any) has been lost. It began to be used figuratively in the mid-twentieth century, as in Budd Schulberg’s What Makes Sammy Run? (1941): “Okay, I said, I’ll cry uncle.”
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References in periodicals archive ?
For all the brickbats hurled at him, there is the critic's temptation to just say uncle, to agree to be amused if not absolutely charmed, to assert that, regardless of the apparent vulgarity of certain individual works, Hirst possesses that supremely uncritical attribute, "talent." The apparent "unoriginality" of his work--its reliance on Surrealist shock techniques and Minimalist presentational modes--doesn't detract from his brilliance as a Pop personage, a vendor of attitudes.