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    #1

    Smile give up the ghost

    In the sentence below, what does "give up the ghost" mean?

    What a time for this stupid car to give up the ghost!

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    #2

    Re: give up the ghost

    give upt the ghost: humorous If a machine gives up the ghost, it stops working

    out of the Cambridge Advanced Dictionary.

    Hope it helps


    P.S. If we use it with a person it means to die / pass away
    another meaning is : to stop trying to do something because you know that you will not succeed
    All I'd cherished from early childhood had been denied me, so I simply gave up the ghost.

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    #3

    Re: give up the ghost

    Quote Originally Posted by Hipfe View Post
    give upt the ghost: humorous If a machine gives up the ghost, it stops working

    out of the Cambridge Advanced Dictionary.

    Hope it helps


    P.S. If we use it with a person it means to die / pass away This is the origin of the phrase: life, spirit, breath, ghost - they're all inter-related.
    another meaning is : to stop trying to do something because you know that you will not succeed
    All I'd cherished from early childhood had been denied me, so I simply gave up the ghost.
    As you're neither a native speaker, nor a teacher, please don't make unsupported claims in this forum. And please read the warning before you post.

    This last usage is one I've never come across. It sounds to me like a simple mistake. Why not stop at All I'd cherished from early childhood had been denied me, so I simply gave up? Or "so I simply gave in/packed it in/jacked it in/threw in the towel/threw in the sponge/abandoned the attempt/gave up trying...." - there are lots of ways of saying it but I've never heard anyone say "I gave up the ghost".

    Of course, maybe some people, in some part of the world, do use it. I'd be interested in knowing your source.

    b
    Last edited by BobK; 03-Sep-2008 at 23:21. Reason: Added text in DarkRed

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    #4

    Re: give up the ghost

    Oh I am sorry, I wasn't aware that I am not allowed to post an answer here........

    All these explanations are out of the "Cambridge Advanced Dictionary". There is also an online version available where you can find these explanation and sentences.

    Please feel free to delete my response. I will never ever do it again.
    OK, I forgot to say that I am not a teacher, on the other hand, I didn't claim to be one either.

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    #5

    Re: give up the ghost

    Quote Originally Posted by Hipfe View Post
    Oh I am sorry, I wasn't aware that I am not allowed to post an answer here........

    All these explanations are out of the "Cambridge Advanced Dictionary". There is also an online version available where you can find these explanation and sentences.

    Please feel free to delete my response. I will never ever do it again.
    OK, I forgot to say that I am not a teacher, on the other hand, I didn't claim to be one either.
    Hi,
    Look here for the derivation of "gave up the ghost".
    Daily Bible Study - Giving Up The Ghost
    It's possible that Cambridge has picked up on an incorrect usage.
    While I don't necessarily endorse Bob's opinions otherwise, I do think this phrase already has a meaning which doesn't need to be extended out of all usefulness. It means "to die", or metaphorically, for a machine to stop functioning. I've never heard it to mean "give up on doing something". But if it's in Cambridge as such, it's another useful phrase down the drain.

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    #6

    Re: give up the ghost

    I really don't want to start a huge discussion or even an argument.......
    Allow me to say this :

    It wasn't an unsupported claim in my first post, I posted there that these explanations are out of the Cambridge Advanced Learner's dictionary. I wasn't sure if I am allowed to post any link, but I will do it now. Btw, the same explanation you can find in the Macmillan English Dictonary.

    give up the ghost HUMOROUS
    1 to stop trying to do something because your efforts have been unsuccessful
    2 if a car or other machine gives up the ghost, it stops working completely
    3 to die
    (c) Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2002

    The link for the explanation out of the Cambridge Dictonary online:
    Cambridge Dictionaries Online - Cambridge University Press

    The Oxford dictionary only gives the explanations "To die" and "stop working".

    To summarise and end that discussion:

    I would use "give up the ghost" to refer to machine stop working.

    In reference of "to die" I wouldn't use it nowadays but you can find it in the bible.

    The third one as "To stop trying to do something......" I would prefer to use only "give up", etc...... or the meanings which BobK posted in his reply.

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    #7

    Re: give up the ghost

    Quote Originally Posted by Hipfe View Post
    Oh I am sorry, I wasn't aware that I am not allowed to post an answer here........
    On the contrary, your thoughts - and you - are welcome. But in a forum called 'Ask a Teacher', people expect answers from teachers - mixed with advice from other students (but with a note saying 'Not a Teacher')
    [/quote]

    Quote Originally Posted by Hipfe View Post
    All these explanations are out of the "Cambridge Advanced Dictionary". There is also an online version available where you can find these explanation and sentences.
    Your reply didn't make that clear (not the "all").

    Quote Originally Posted by Hipfe View Post
    Please feel free to delete my response. I will never ever do it again. No need
    OK, I forgot to say that I am not a teacher, on the other hand, I didn't claim to be one either.
    Incidentally, I imagine it's possible that the jocular use of 'give up the ghost', used of machines, was originally an implicit reference to the idea of Gilbert Ryle's 'the ghost in the machine' - in which 'the machine' is a metaphor for a person: Ghost in the machine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia . (But that's just a guess on my part.)

    b

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    #8

    Re: give up the ghost

    Quote Originally Posted by Hipfe View Post

    The Oxford dictionary only gives the explanations "To die" and "stop working".
    My faith in Oxford has been restored
    Still, I suppose 3,000 years is a good run for the meaning of a phrase. Maybe it's time it gave up the ghost.

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