Give Someone a Break

Meaning of Idiom ‘Give Someone a Break’

1. To give someone a break means to stop putting pressure on them, stop criticizing them, or being unkind to them. 1Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.,2McCarthy, Michael. Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms. Cambridge University Press, 2002

2. Alternatively, to give someone a break means to help them in a way that gives them a chance at success; to give someone special consideration. 3Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

Examples Of Use

“Give Wayne a break,” said Sam. “It’s his first day on the job. I remember you weren’t much better on your first day.”

“Look, give her a break. She’s only seven years old. She doesn’t understand all your rules.”

“I just need a little more time to come up with the money,” said Ray. “If you can just give me a break I know I can have the rent by Friday.”

“Your Uncle Frank asked me to give you a break. Since we’ve been friends for decades, I’m going to do what he asked. But, believe me, you are not going to get any special treatment around here. You’d better be on time and work hard.”

Origin

Used since around 1900.

The word break is used in this and other expressions to mean a chance, opportunity, or consideration.

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Sources   [ + ]

1. Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.
2. McCarthy, Michael. Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms. Cambridge University Press, 2002
3. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.