give up the ghost

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

King James Version of the Bible (1611), Gospel of Mark, 15:37.

Verb[edit]

give up the ghost (third-person singular simple present gives up the ghost, present participle giving up the ghost, simple past gave up the ghost, past participle given up the ghost)

  1. (intransitive, idiomatic) To cease clinging to life; to die.
    • 1611, King James Bible, Mark 15:37
      And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.
  2. (intransitive, idiomatic, figuratively) To quit; to cease functioning.
    My old computer finally gave up the ghost the other day.
  3. (intransitive, with of) To cede a commitment to or identification with.
    • 1993 February 8, “A Magical History Tour”, Time: 
      But McCartney, 50, is hardly ready to give up the ghost of his creative past.
    • 1995, Bad Boys
    • Burnett holds the door while Lowrey holds Francine. She's broken, crying, and giving up the ghost of her past.
    • 2000 January 14, Kevin Maney, “Gates closes an era Microsoft prepares to lay out a road map”, USA Today:
      Its Windows CE, ostensibly for consumer electronics, is flailing, largely because Microsoft has taken a PC mentality to develop CE, unable to give up the ghost of its heritage.

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