cry uncle

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cry uncle

To admit defeat or plead for mercy, especially in an informal physical contest of some kind. The brothers often play fought, but it was invariably the younger of the two who had to cry uncle by the end.
See also: cry, uncle
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

cry uncle

Also, say uncle. Concede defeat, as in The Serbs want the Bosnians to cry uncle, or If you say uncle right now, I'll let you go first in the next game. This phrase originated about 1900 as an imperative among school-children who would say, "Cry uncle when you've had enough (of a beating)." By the mid-1900s it was being used figuratively, as in the examples.
See also: cry, uncle
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

cry (or say or yell) uncle

surrender or admit defeat. North American informal
1989 Guy Vanderhaeghe Homesick Beat him six ways to Sunday and he still would never cry uncle or allow that there was an outside chance of his ever being wrong.
See also: cry, uncle
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

cry/say ˈuncle

(American English) admit that you have been beaten or defeated: They’re determined to make the President cry uncle in the budget debate.Originally, this comes from children’s games in which the child has to say the word ‘uncle’ to admit defeat.
See also: cry, say, uncle
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017


/say uncle Informal
To indicate a willingness to give up a fight or surrender: tickled my brother until he cried uncle.

cry (one's)

eyes/heart out
To weep inconsolably for a long time.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
This is a new government, one that is not going to jump up and say `yes sir!'--or cry uncle."
Bent on making Clinton cry uncle in the budget debate, Republicans who speak of fiscal integrity and national security forced a costly federal shutdown and nearly triggered a catastrophic default on the national debt.
chain to cry uncle. In the ferocious Little Rock newspaper war of the late 1980s, Hussman's Arkansas Democrat not only survived the onslaught of Gannett's Arkansas Gazette-- but prevailed.
Edward Kennedy and Tip O'Neill were the first to cry uncle, even before Reagan rallied the nation from the Oval Office.
Avilsen's other movies include "Cry Uncle!," "Neighbors" "The Karate Kid," "The Karate Kid Part II," "The Karate Kid Part III," "Lean on Me," and "8 Seconds."
Is it to make it cry uncle and give up its nuclear program?
The new sanctions bill includes the favorite tool of Congress-a plan to sanction companies that sell Iran gasoline, which many in Congress believe is a magic pill that will lead the Islamic Republic to cry uncle and abandon its nuclear program.