phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Given up

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on June 22, 2007

In Reply to: Given up posted by Ryan on June 22, 2007

: : : I cannot find any info on the origin of "given up for the dead", can anyone please help me out here?

: : I think it's -- given up for dead. Assuming that someone is no longer among the living. "When you didn't come home at midnight, I gave you up for dead. I was planning what to wear to the funeral." Said to a child who didn't make it home by curfew.

: That's not exactly what I was looking for... yes there is a saying "given up for dead" but, it seems to be an abbreviation of "given up for the dead", as both of these phrases are used. I am interested in the origin of this phrase.

If you google "given up for dead" you get 112,000 hits. If you google "given up for the dead" you get precisely 7, originating from only 5 separate sources. So no, "given up for the dead" is not a normal phrase in English at all; it also makes no logical or grammatical sense, which makes me think it is simply a rather rare error. But "given up for dead" is very common. "For" in this phrase has the meaning "as". There are several English idioms in which "for" is used in this way, e.g. "given up for lost", "left for dead", "take for granted". (VSD)