give up the ghost
Literally, to release one's spirit or soul from the body at death. From Middle English "gaf up þe gost", "ʒave up þe gost", from Old English phrases as "hēo āġeaf hire gāst" (literally, "she gave up her ghost [spirit]"), "þæt iċ gāst mīnne āġifan mōte" (literally, "that I must give up my ghost [spirit]"). Compare German den Geist aufgeben and Dutch de geest geven.
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- (intransitive, idiomatic) To cease clinging to life; to die.
- (intransitive, idiomatic, figuratively) To quit; to cease functioning.
- My old computer finally gave up the ghost the other day.
- (intransitive, with of) To cede a commitment to or identification with.
- 1993 February 8, “A Magical History Tour”, in 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”, in 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.