Give up the ghost

Photo of author

| Grammarist

Photo of author

Give up the ghost is an idiom that may be traced back as far as the 1600s. We will examine the definition of the phrase give up the ghost , where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

To give up the ghost means to expire or die, or in the case of a mechanical object, to stop working . The phrase give up the ghost may be traced back to the King James Bible, printed in the early 1600s. The term is used in several places in the Bible, including Mark 15:37: “And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.” The phrase is usually translated in these times as giving up one’s spirit, rather than ghost. Related phrases are gives up the ghost, gave up the ghost, given up the ghost, giving up the ghost. 

Examples Occasionally, usually in the middle of a dark, stormy night, a limb would give up the ghost, falling onto the roof and causing us to bolt upright in bed, dreading the mess that we’d face in the morning. (The Herald Times) It seems in his view that, even after death, spooks don’t give up the ghost of the human impulse to endure. ( The San Antonio Current ) Or the scandal-phobic Queen Vic, whose many positive qualities as a young queen are currently on display in PBS’s Victoria but whose contempt for and resentment of her charming but dissolute son just about ruined him as he waited — and waited — for her to give up the ghost. ( USA Today )

Enjoyed reading about this idiom? Check out some others we covered:

  • Easy pickings

Grammarist is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

2023 © Grammarist, a Found First Marketing company. All rights reserved.

give up the ghost

  • 1.1 Etymology
  • 1.2 Pronunciation
  • 1.3.1 Translations
  • 1.4 See also

English [ edit ]

Etymology [ edit ].

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 .

Perhaps most notable and survived in modern English for being used in traditional translation during the death of Jesus during His crucifixion: The Holy Bible,   [ … ] ( King James Version ), London: [ … ] Robert Barker ,   [ … ] , 1611, →OCLC , Matthew 27:50 : “¶ Iesus, when hee had cried againe with a loud voice, yeelded vp the ghost .”

Pronunciation [ edit ]

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 )

  • 1611 , The Holy Bible,   [ … ] ( King James Version ), London: [ … ] Robert Barker ,   [ … ] , →OCLC , Mark 15:37 : And Ieſus cryed with a loude voice, and gaue vp the ghoſt .
  • ( intransitive , idiomatic , figuratively ) To quit ; to cease functioning. My old computer finally gave up the ghost the other day.
  • 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.

Translations [ edit ]

See also [ edit ].

  • draw one's last breath

to gave up the ghost meaning

  • English terms inherited from Middle English
  • English terms derived from Middle English
  • English terms derived from Old English
  • English terms with audio links
  • English lemmas
  • English verbs
  • English multiword terms
  • English intransitive verbs
  • English idioms
  • English terms with quotations
  • English terms with usage examples
  • English light verb constructions
  • English predicates
  • English terms with non-redundant non-automated sortkeys
  • English entries with topic categories using raw markup
  • English entries with language name categories using raw markup
  • Quotation templates to be cleaned
  • Requests for translations into Arabic
  • Armenian terms with redundant script codes
  • Mandarin terms with redundant transliterations
  • Requests for translations into Hindi
  • Requests for translations into Vietnamese

Navigation menu

  • Pop culture
  • Writing tips
  • Daily Crossword
  • Word Puzzle
  • Word Finder
  • Word of the Day
  • Synonym of the Day
  • Word of the Year
  • Language stories
  • All featured
  • Gender and sexuality
  • All pop culture
  • Grammar Coach ™
  • Writing hub
  • Grammar essentials
  • Commonly confused
  • All writing tips
  • 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]

Words Nearby give up the ghost

  • give the time of day
  • give the word
  • give the works
  • give to understand
  • give vent to
  • give voice to
  • give way to
  • give what for

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

Synonyms of give up the ghost

  • To save this word, you'll need to log in. Log In

Thesaurus Definition of give up the ghost

Synonyms & Similar Words

  • buy the farm
  • bite the dust
  • kick the bucket

Antonyms & Near Antonyms

Thesaurus Entries Near give up the ghost

give up the ghost

give up (to)

Cite this Entry

“Give up the ghost.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/give%20up%20the%20ghost. Accessed 19 Jan. 2024.

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Play Quordle: Guess all four words in a limited number of tries.  Each of your guesses must be a real 5-letter word.

Can you solve 4 words at once?

Word of the day.

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Popular in Grammar & Usage

8 grammar terms you used to know, but forgot, homophones, homographs, and homonyms, commonly misspelled words, a guide to em dashes, en dashes, and hyphens, absent letters that are heard anyway, popular in wordplay, the words of the week - jan. 19, 10 words for lesser-known games and sports, your favorite band is in the dictionary, etymologies for every day of the week, 7 common idioms that come from chickens, games & quizzes.

Play Blossom: Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Home button

The meaning and origin of the expression: Give up the ghost

Facebook

Give up the ghost

  • Death and dying

What's the meaning of the phrase 'Give up the ghost'?

To die, or in the case of inanimate objects, to cease working.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Give up the ghost'?

There are many uses of this phrase in the Bible, including this, from Miles Coverdale's Version, 1535, Acts 12:23:

Immediatly the angell of the LORDE smote him, because he gaue not God the honoure: And he was eaten vp of wormes, and gaue vp the goost.

The metaphorical use of the phrase, that is, in relation to something not living and not able to become a ghost, is 19th century; for example, James Kirke Paulding's, Westward Ho! , 1832, includes:

"At length it gave up the ghost, and, like an over-cultivated intellect, became incurably barren."

Gary Martin - the author of the phrases.org.uk website.

By Gary Martin

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

Gary Martin, author of the www.phrases.org.uk website.

Bible Study Resources - Tips, Online Bible Search, Devotions

  • BROWSE TOPICS X
  • Devotionals
  • News & Culture
  • Newsletters

Crosswalk.com

What Does “Gave up the Ghost” Mean in Scripture?

  • Mike Leake Borrowed Light
  • Updated Jul 17, 2023

What Does “Gave up the Ghost” Mean in Scripture?

I had an old clunker of a car a few years ago. Ah, who am I kidding? I still have an old clunker just a different one. This particular car seemed to have nine lives. Each time I thought it was dead, somehow, we’d be able to find some cheap fix and get it back on the road again. But one day it drove its last mile. It simply wouldn’t start. When this happened, I remember saying, “well, the ol’ car finally gave up the ghost.” 

“Gave up the ghost” is a phrase that we use when something (seldom do we use it of someone these days) no longer is in working condition. It’s when a thing dies. But did you know this phrase has its origin in the Bible? 

Where Is "Gave up the Ghost" Found in Scripture? 

The phrase seems to have its origin in the Coverdale Bible. In Acts 12:23 , when Herod did not give glory to God but instead to himself, we read this: 

Immediatly the angel of the LORDE smote him, because he gave not God the honoure: And he was eaten vp of wormes, and gaue vp the goost.

Why Is This Phrase Used?

Why does the KJV Bible reference giving up a ghost? Is this some sort of reference to the Holy Ghost? No, it is not a reference to the Holy Ghost/Spirit. In Old and Middle English the word ghost was used synonymously with spirit. So “giving up the ghost” would be synonymous with “yielding your spirit”. 

It is in John 19:30 that I think we are better positioned to understand more about the origins of this phrase. The word used for “gave up” is paradidomi . This is a very common word. It is the same word used for Jesus being delivered over to the guards and authorities. It means that you are giving something over to another. And so in John 19:30 , we see that Jesus is yielding the very center of Himself (his pnuema) over to the Father. This is why the phrasing “give up the ghost” became more popular in the 17 th and 18 th century. It wasn’t simply that you were “pushing up daisies” or “taking a dirt nap” you were actually submitting your spirit to the LORD. 

What Does This Phrase Mean?

There is, then, even more meaning in this phrase than simply an idiom to refer to death. And its origins are certainly more profound than being synonymous for your car “kicking the bucket”. It doesn’t simply mean that something no longer functions or works. There is a yielding and submission of the darkest hour into the hands of the LORD. 

Jesus, of course, models this for us in the way that when he was dying upon the cross, he entrusted Himself to the Father. I appreciate the words of Tim Challies : 

The way someone died in the 17 th and 18 th centuries was incredibly important. Pastors and family members were looking for this type of yielding at the hour of departure. They had great comfort if someone went peacefully into eternity. It was just a final picture of submissively following the sovereign direction of the Lord. 

Eventually, the phrase took on a bit of a new life. The sacredness of death seemed to be overtaken with a more cynical outlook. As such “giving up the ghost” became a more macabre expression and eventually referred to simply death, or giving up. So, by 1832 James Kirke Paulding’s Westward Ho! would see an inanimate object; “at length it gave up the ghost…” 

I do not think it necessary for us to use archaic language to describe death. Very few people would understand the import of “gave up the ghost” if we said this at funerals. But the concept is indeed important. It is helpful for us to have things like graveside services where we commit the body as well as spirit unto the Lord as we await the resurrection of the dead. It is important for us to not only grasp the concept of being surrendered to the Lord in the hour of our death but also within every hour of our lives. 

Perhaps “giving up the ghost” shouldn’t be confined to the deathbed but in a very real sense, we are to be “giving up ourselves” with every waking moment. Jesus modeled this in his life and in his death.

Photo Credit:  Unsplash/Dyu-Ha 

LISTEN: Let Our Bible Study Expert Help You Start the New Year Right!

Have you ever chosen a word for the year? Whether you pick a word each year or never have before, I think this episode will help you order your life in the year to come. If you don't know what your word is, today might be a great day for you to hear some of the things that we are promised in Christ that you in faith can claim for yourself for 2024. Keep in mind, each of these words requires faith.

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.

WATCH: 5 Verses on Strength for When You Feel Weak

Video stock video and music probided by SoundStripe

Recently On Bible Study

What Strange Message Did Micaiah Give to King Ahab?

Editor's Picks

5 Marks of a Powerful Sermon

Popular Today

6 Simple Ways to Show Your Spouse Affection When You Don't Feel Like It

  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Use
  • Crosswalk App
  • California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information
  • California - CCPA Notice

to gave up the ghost meaning

What Does it Mean that Jesus ‘Gave Up the Ghost’?

The phrase “gave up the ghost” is an old English translation of the Greek phrase “paradidōmi to pneuma.” The old English phrase means the moment a person dies as if the soul is released when the body transpires. 

What Does it Mean that Jesus ‘Gave Up the Ghost’?

I recently went to my uncle’s funeral. My uncle was a great man who loved his wife and family with all his heart. He lived a long life, almost 80, when he passed suddenly taking out the trash one evening.

We celebrated and grieved my uncle near his home in Ohio. We told stories and comforted one another. For those of faith, we declared we would see him again one day, as he was a man of faith and service in his local church.

Despite being older, his death was unexpected and quick. It was not what any of us would have chosen. I can’t say for sure, but perhaps it wasn’t what my uncle would have chosen, either. However, whether the death is sudden or at the end of a long illness, death is the appointment for us all.

Every human being is appointed to die once and then face the judgment seat of God ( Hebrews 9:27 )), where every knee will bow, and tongue will confess ( Philippians 2:10-11 ).

This is the future for all men and women. The time is appointed for us by God, not by our choosing, no matter what we believe. As sinners, we are already slaves of death.

This is the gospel that God sent his Son for the world so those who would believe in Jesus wouldn’t be slaves of death but have imperishable, eternal life.=

At the center of the gospel is the person, Jesus, who was sent as a sacrifice for our sins. This Son of God had never sinned and by extension, never under the slavery of death.

This is the background for a mysterious statement from the King James Version of the Bible. At his death on the cross, Jesus “gave up the ghost.”

What Is the Context When Jesus ‘Gave Up the Ghost’ in Luke 23:46 ?

Chapter 23 of Luke recounts the events leading up to the crucifixion and death of Jesus. Jesus had been arrested and tried by the Sanhedrin, the religious ruling council of the Jews, people who were supposed to be upholding the Old Testament Law and the truth of God.

Since the Jews were a conquered people, they didn’t have the authority to carry out a death sentence, so they sent Jesus to Pilate, the local Roman governor.

Luke 23 begins with Pilate’s questioning of Jesus. When Pilate realizes this is both a religious matter dealing with the local kingship of Judah, he sends Jesus to Herod.

Upon being questioned by Herod, Jesus said nothing, even though the chief priests and scribes accused Jesus. Herod and his troops mocked the Son of God, placing a type of kingly robe on him as a joke, and sent Jesus back to Pilate.

Pilate could still find nothing wrong with Jesus and decided to simply chastise Jesus and release him, since by local law and agreement with the Jews around Passover, he could release one prisoner to the Jews.

The Jewish leaders roused the people to instead called for Pilate to release murderous political revolutionary Barabbas. The Jews cried, “Crucify!” until Pilate relented and delivered Jesus up to be crucified.

Jesus forgives the men who drove the nails into his hands, all while being mocked by the crowd. If he was the Son of God and could do such miracles, why didn’t he save himself?

This is a valid question.

After dealing with the two thieves, one of whom is promised the Kingdom because he defends the innocence of Jesus, the sun darkened, and the veil of the Temple was torn in two.

At this point, we get to the crux of it. Luke 23:46 in the KJV says, “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.”

He gave up the ghost.

What Was the Significance That Jesus ‘Gave Up the Ghost’?

The phrase “gave up the ghost” is an old English translation of the Greek phrase “ paradidōmi to pneuma .” The old English phrase means the moment a person dies as if the soul is released when the body transpires.

Other translations don’t use this old phrase for death, however. Even the New King James Version changes it to, “He breathed his last.”

Why is it important for the KJV to use “gave up the ghost”?

First, we can look into the text of Luke 23:46 to give a hint. What words did Jesus say before dying? Jesus said nothing randomly, nor did he speak of his own, as he clearly expressed. He only spoke what the Father spoke ( John 12:49 ), so these final words were intentional and had meaning.

Before his death, Jesus said, “Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit.” Here Jesus states he chose the moment of his death, that he had the power to choose exactly when he died.

Some might argue it is possible Jesus simply understood he was about to die; the moment was close. This happens to people who aren’t the Son of God, a mystical reality where regular everyday people sometimes know they are about to die and express it just beforehand.

Even without looking at other gospel accounts of his death, we see the moment carried extreme significance. The sky darkened. The veil was torn in two. These were important symbols of a spiritual breaking of the old ways and bringing of the New Covenant .

Further, we have other evidence from Jesus’ words of his power to choose when he died. In John 10:17-18 KJV, Jesus says, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”

By his own words, then, Jesus told people no one took his life, Pilate, Herod, the Sanhedrin, or even the men putting the nails in his hands. It was completely his choice. The Father commanded, but Jesus chose to obey.

God is love, and love doesn’t force, coerce, or manipulate. Love speaks truth and gives a choice. Because Jesus was the Son of God and loved us and his Father, he obeyed; knowing the joy set before him ( Hebrews 12:2 ), he chose the cross.

Therefore, we see why the King James makes an interesting choice with the phrase, “gave up the ghost.” When used to describe the death of regular people, “giving up the ghost” doesn’t mean they chose to die in the moment, only that their soul left their body.

What Do I Need to Understand About Lent as a Christian?

What Do I Need to Understand About Lent as a Christian?

But with Jesus, the term takes on a deeper meaning. He chose to come to the Earth as a man and die on the cross. Unlike every other human being, he had the power over death while alive and chose exactly when it would happen in obedience to his Father.

What do other accounts add to this discussion?

What are Other Gospel Accounts of the Moment of Jesus’ Death?

Luke is the only gospel recording Jesus’ words after crying out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit,” after crying out with a loud voice and immediately preceding “giving up the ghost.”

Mark and Matthew give us different last words from Jesus, which are “Eli, Eli, sabachtani?” which meant, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ( Matthew 27:46 and Mark 13:34 ). Jesus says this when the darkness covers the Earth, also written about in the other Gospels.

However, both Matthew and Mark include Jesus crying out with a loud voice before he died, and afterward, Jesus yielded up his spirit.

Yielding his spirit is the same sentiment as “into your hands I commend my spirit” and “he gave up the ghost.” Jesus yielding his spirit also meant he chose to die at that moment.

John’s gospel provides a slightly different perspective on the moment of Jesus’ death. The final words in John 19:28-30 are “It is finished!” followed by bowing his head and giving up his spirit.

“It is finished” correlates with the completion of the work of Christ in salvation and also the signs around his death like the earthquake and the veil being torn in two.

Again, we have “he gave up his spirit” in death, a clear indication of a personal choice by Jesus to die exactly then, revealing his power over death even while living in a human body.

But didn’t he show this power over death in other narratives, as well? He raised the dead several times, notably Lazarus ( John 11 ). He declared during the raising of Lazarus that he, himself, was the resurrection and the life.

He who is resurrection and life cannot be subject to death in any way. He already was the resurrection before he physically manifested that reality in literally rising from the dead.

This is the life he gives to his followers.

What Are Important Lessons We Can Learn from Luke 23:46 ?

As stated before, God is love, and he will not force us to follow him. We must choose to die to ourselves and live for God. However, that choice is only available because Jesus paved the way, the firstborn from the dead, and invites us into a work we could not do.

We can’t overcome the power of death on our own. Only Jesus could accomplish that by choosing to die as the perfect righteous Son of God in a human body to defeat the power of death over humanity. This is a finished work Christ invites us into through faith and grace.

If we will believe, we can then make the choice. God will not force us. Nor will he manipulate or coerce us to love and follow him. Even the power to make the choice comes from his grace, which we don’t deserve and could never earn.

But if we do, then we also choose to die to ourselves and follow the teachings of the Bible.

Jesus said in Mark 8:34-35 , “When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.”

Just like Jesus, we must see the joy before us, the eternal life offered, and endure our own cross. This is a life we would lose anyway since we are slaves of sin and death, and no amount of effort on our part can break those chains.

We must offer up our lives willingly, overcoming sin and death by the blood of the Lamb, the word of our own testimony , and not loving our own lives ( Revelation 12:11 ).

When we willingly choose to give up our lives for Jesus and the Gospel, the power of death over us is eternally broken. We are filled with the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead ( Romans 8:11 )). Jesus, who is the Resurrection, lives within us through the born-again New Creation. Even when our bodies die, we will be resurrected in new bodies like Jesus had ( 1 Corinthians 15:49 ).

Even Death itself can’t kill the Resurrection, and we are able to say now and later, along with all the saints of God, “Oh Death, where is your sting? Hades, where is your victory?”

Like Christ, let us give our lives, our souls, willingly unto the God who will translate us into an eternal life no worldly power can kill, giving us victory now and later over the power of Death.

For further reading:

What Did Jesus Mean by ‘Father, Into Your Hands I Commit My Spirit’?

What Is the Significance of Jesus’ Last Words on the Cross?

Is the Holy Ghost Different from the Holy Spirit?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/VladGans

Britt Mooney

LISTEN: Let Our Bible Study Expert Help You Start the New Year Right!

Have you ever chosen a word for the year? Whether you pick a word each year or never have before, I think this episode will help you order your life in the year to come. If you don't know what your word is, today might be a great day for you to hear some of the things that we are promised in Christ that you in faith can claim for yourself for 2024. Keep in mind, each of these words requires faith.

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.

WATCH: 5 Verses on Strength for When You Feel Weak

Video stock video and music probided by SoundStripe

WATCH: A Prayer to Be Bold for the Gospel

Thumbnail courtesy of Canva.com. Stock footage courtesy of soundstripe.com

5 Relevant Lessons from the Polygamous Life of King Solomon

5 Relevant Lessons from the Polygamous Life of King Solomon

10 Tips for Studying Your Bible

10 Tips for Studying Your Bible

7 Sneaky Idols Destroying the Church Today

What Were the Nephilim in the Bible?

5 Things Christians Get Wrong about the Creation Story

Is Masturbation a Sin?

Morning Prayers to Start Your Day with God

We long to be loved for who we truly are, but we've also been burned by others in an attempt to find acceptance.

Bible Baseball

Play now...

Bible Baseball

Saintly Millionaire

Saintly Millionaire

Bible Jeopardy

Bible Jeopardy

Bible Trivia By Category

Bible Trivia By Category

Bible Trivia Challenge

Bible Trivia Challenge

The Origin Of The Phrase Give Up The Ghost

A ghost in the woods

Have you ever heard someone use the phrase, "Give up the ghost ?" Maybe you have, but there's also a good chance you haven't. It's not really a common idiom that arises in conversation anymore, but you may have seen it pop up in various works of literature from centuries past. It sounds creepy, doesn't it? Still, what does it mean when someone "gives up the ghost?" Are we referring to someone who is holding an actual apparition hostage? Are we demanding that they release the paranormal entity from forced captivity? Someone should really give an explanation already.

Well, the meaning of the phrase is quite simple and almost self-explanatory: to give up the ghost means to die, according to The Free Dictionary by Farlex . So in a sense, we are talking about releasing a ghost from captivity — our own ghost from the captivity of our own bodies — and death is the key to the prison. 

Where did the phrase originate?

Like so many other phrases that have been casually woven into common vernacular over centuries past, "give up the ghost" traces its origins all the way back to  The Holy Bible . In the Book of Job (4:10), the exact dialogue reads, "Man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost" (per The Free Dictionary by Farlex ). The explanation is right there in the words leading up to the phrase — death. Man dies and wastes away, and his ghost is relinquished unto the ether. 

It appears again in Mark 15:37 when, after suffering immensely upon the cross, "Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost." According to The Grammarist , the widespread use of the phrase in common language likely started to proliferate sometime in the 1600s after The King James Bible was published and made available to the masses.

Modern usage of the phrase

If you're a fan of Radiohead , you might already recognize the phrase from one of their more popular songs in recent years. " Give Up the Ghost " appeared on the band's 2011 album " The King of Limbs ." True to Radiohead form, the track seems to invoke something unnerving from within, yet somehow manages to comfort the listener at the same time. "Give Up the Ghost" is more or less the perfect song to give up the ghost to. 

Musicians seem to be rather keen on the phrase. " Give Up the Ghost " is also the title of Folk/Indie Rock singer Brandi Carlile's 2009 studio album. It's hard to argue that it doesn't make for a good song/record title, but songwriters alone certainly don't hold precedence over the timeless idiom. In 2004, author Hilary Mantel chose "Giving Up the Ghost: A Memoir" as the title for her own autobiography (via Goodreads ). 

Go to the homepage

Definition of 'give up the ghost'

Give up the ghost in american english, give up the ghost in british english.

  • give up the ghost

Examples of 'give up the ghost' in a sentence give up the ghost

Browse alphabetically give up the ghost.

  • give up hope
  • give up the chase
  • give vent to
  • give voice to
  • All ENGLISH words that begin with 'G'

Related terms of give up the ghost

  • to give up the ghost

Quick word challenge

Quiz Review

Score: 0 / 5

Tile

Wordle Helper

Tile

Scrabble Tools

Cambridge Dictionary

  • Cambridge Dictionary +Plus

Definition of give up the ghost – Learner’s Dictionary

Give up the ghost, translations of give up the ghost.

Get a quick, free translation!

{{randomImageQuizHook.quizId}}

Word of the Day

Your browser doesn't support HTML5 audio

used to refer to cows that are used for producing milk, rather than meat, or to foods that are made from milk, such as cream, butter, and cheese

It’ll have to do: talking about things that aren’t very good or very bad

It’ll have to do: talking about things that aren’t very good or very bad

to gave up the ghost meaning

Learn more with +Plus

  • Recent and Recommended {{#preferredDictionaries}} {{name}} {{/preferredDictionaries}}
  • Definitions Clear explanations of natural written and spoken English English Learner’s Dictionary Essential British English Essential American English
  • Grammar and thesaurus Usage explanations of natural written and spoken English Grammar Thesaurus
  • Pronunciation British and American pronunciations with audio English Pronunciation
  • English–Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Simplified)–English
  • English–Chinese (Traditional) Chinese (Traditional)–English
  • English–Dutch Dutch–English
  • English–French French–English
  • English–German German–English
  • English–Indonesian Indonesian–English
  • English–Italian Italian–English
  • English–Japanese Japanese–English
  • English–Norwegian Norwegian–English
  • English–Polish Polish–English
  • English–Portuguese Portuguese–English
  • English–Spanish Spanish–English
  • English–Swedish Swedish–English
  • Dictionary +Plus Word Lists
  • Learner’s Dictionary    Idiom
  • Translations
  • All translations

Add give up the ghost to one of your lists below, or create a new one.

{{message}}

Something went wrong.

There was a problem sending your report.

IMAGES

  1. Give up the ghost

    to gave up the ghost meaning

  2. Give up the ghost Meaning

    to gave up the ghost meaning

  3. English Idiom with Picture Description for Give Up the Ghost Stock

    to gave up the ghost meaning

  4. Genesis 25:8 KJV

    to gave up the ghost meaning

  5. English idiom with picture description for give up the ghost 5058960

    to gave up the ghost meaning

  6. English Idiom with Picture Description for Give Up the Ghost Stock

    to gave up the ghost meaning

VIDEO

  1. A GHOST TRIED TO 🔪 HER 😳😳 #hauntedhomies #crowdwork #funny #mattrife

  2. Is there a ghost? 😳🤣

  3. Got scared by Pop-up Ghost

  4. A GHOST GAVE IMPOSSIBLE CHALLENGES 😜😱

  5. GETTING TURNED ON BY A GHOST 😳🥵#crowdwork #paranormal #standup #funny

  6. WHO WILL A GHOST? WILL HE EXIT? WILL HE DANJAR?

COMMENTS

  1. GIVE UP THE GHOST

    Stop having or doing something (Definition of give up the ghost from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press) B1

  2. Give up the ghost Idiom Definition

    To give up the ghost means to expire or die, or in the case of a mechanical object, to stop working. The phrase give up the ghost may be traced back to the King James Bible, printed in the early 1600s. The term is used in several places in the Bible, including Mark 15:37: "And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost."

  3. Give up the ghost Definition & Meaning

    verb gave up; given up; giving up; gives up Synonyms of give up transitive verb 1 : to yield control or possession of : surrender forced to give up his job 2 : to desist from : abandon refused to give up her efforts 3 : to declare incurable or insoluble 4 a : to abandon (oneself) to a particular feeling, influence, or activity

  4. Give up the ghost

    Definition of give up the ghost in the Idioms Dictionary. give up the ghost phrase. What does give up the ghost expression mean? Definitions by the largest Idiom Dictionary.

  5. Definition of 'to give up the ghost'

    phrase [VERB inflects] If someone gives up the ghost, they stop trying to do something because they no longer believe they can do it successfully. If a machine gives up the ghost, it stops working . [informal] Some firms give up the ghost before they find what they are looking for. The battery in my car gave up the ghost.

  6. To give up the ghost

    If a person or plant There was a tree at the bottom of the garden that had clearly given up the ghost a few years previously. 1 (of a person) die. 2 (of a machine) stop working; break down, especially permanently. 3 stop making an effort; give up hope.

  7. 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]").

  8. Definition of 'give up the ghost'

    a. to die b. to cease to function or exist See full dictionary entry for ghost Most material © 2005, 1997, 1991 by Penguin Random House LLC. Modified entries © 2019 by Penguin Random House LLC and HarperCollins Publishers Ltd give up the ghost to stop trying to do something, because you no longer believe that you can succeed

  9. give up the ghost

    • Doctors said that while his heart was fine, his vascular system had given up the ghost. • This is the gentler way: convince the mind the body's dead and it gives up the ghost. • What light struggled through the unwashed front window soon gave up the ghost in the air that seemed almost palpably grey. • They squirmed, shrivelled and ...

  10. Giving up the ghost

    What does giving up the ghost expression mean? Definitions by the largest Idiom Dictionary. Giving up the ghost - Idioms by The Free Dictionary. ... 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]

  11. Give-up the ghost

    give-up the ghost: 1 v pass from physical life and lose all bodily attributes and functions necessary to sustain life Synonyms: buy the farm , cash in one's chips , choke , conk , croak , decease , die , drop dead , exit , expire , go , kick the bucket , pass , pass away , perish , pop off , snuff it break , break down , conk out , die , fail ...

  12. GIVE UP THE GHOST Definition & Usage Examples

    a source of great and sudden wealth or luck. a burden, impediment, or hindrance. TAKE THE QUIZ TO FIND OUT Words Nearby give up the ghost give the time of day give the word give the works give to understand give-up give up the ghost give vent to give voice to give way give way to give what for

  13. Definition of 'to give up the ghost'

    English Dictionary Sentences Grammar Definition of 'to give up the ghost' to give up the ghost phrase [VERB inflects] If someone gives up the ghost, they stop trying to do something because they no longer believe they can do it successfully. If a machine gives up the ghost, it stops working . [informal]

  14. GIVE UP THE GHOST Synonyms: 46 Similar and Opposite Words

    Synonyms for GIVE UP THE GHOST: die, fall, pass (on), buy it, perish, pass away, check out, depart; Antonyms of GIVE UP THE GHOST: come to, live, breathe, be, revive ...

  15. The saying 'Give up the ghost'

    What's the meaning of the phrase 'Give up the ghost'? To die, or in the case of inanimate objects, to cease working. What's the origin of the phrase 'Give up the ghost'? There are many uses of this phrase in the Bible, including this, from Miles Coverdale's Version, 1535, Acts 12:23:

  16. What Does "Gave up the Ghost" Mean in Scripture?

    "Gave up the ghost" is a phrase that we use when something (seldom do we use it of someone these days) no longer is in working condition. It's when a thing dies. But did you know this phrase...

  17. Give up the ghost meaning

    Idiom: Give up the ghost. Meaning: People give up the ghost when they die. Machines stop working when they give up the ghost. All idioms have been editorially reviewed, and submitted idioms may have been edited for correctness and completeness.

  18. Meaning of give up the ghost

    give up the ghost definition: If a machine gives up the ghost, it stops working completely: . Learn more.

  19. What Does it Mean that Jesus 'Gave Up the Ghost'?

    Devotionals Podcasts What Does it Mean that Jesus 'Gave Up the Ghost'? The phrase "gave up the ghost" is an old English translation of the Greek phrase "paradidōmi to pneuma." The old English phrase means the moment a person dies as if the soul is released when the body transpires. Britt Mooney Contributing Writer Published Jul 13, 2023

  20. The Origin Of The Phrase Give Up The Ghost

    Well, the meaning of the phrase is quite simple and almost self-explanatory: to give up the ghost means to die, according to The Free Dictionary by Farlex. So in a sense, we are talking about releasing a ghost from captivity — our own ghost from the captivity of our own bodies — and death is the key to the prison. Where did the phrase originate?

  21. Definition of 'give up the ghost'

    b. to cease to function or exist See full dictionary entry for ghost Most material © 2005, 1997, 1991 by Penguin Random House LLC. Modified entries © 2019 by Penguin Random House LLC and HarperCollins Publishers Ltd give up the ghost in British English a. to die b. (of a machine) to stop working See full dictionary entry for ghost

  22. Give up the ghost

    Define give up the ghost. give up the ghost synonyms, give up the ghost pronunciation, give up the ghost translation, English dictionary definition of give up the ghost. v. gave , giv·en , giv·ing , gives v. tr. 1. To make a present of: We gave her flowers for her birthday. 2. To place in the hands of; pass: Give me the...

  23. Definition of give up the ghost

    give up the ghost meaning: If a machine gives up the ghost, it stops working completely: . Learn more.