Give Yourself Away – Meaning & Origin

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

The idiom give yourself away means to inadvertently reveal something about yourself that you intended to keep a secret. It’s not to be confused with the marital practice of a father giving away a daughter. I’ll explain what this phrase really means and show you a few examples of how to use it in a sentence.

What Does Give Yourself Away Mean?

Give Yourself Away – Meaning Origin

When you give yourself away, you don’t literally gift yourself to someone. That would be weird. It actually means to disclose a secret or show your true feelings or thoughts by accident. Whether it’s a telltale blush, a slip of the tongue, or a mindless gesture, giving yourself away can reveal more than you might like. So, be careful!

Think of playing card games with a group of friends. After a few rounds, you start to pick up on their tells, and they don’t realize they’re giving themselves away regarding what’s in their hands. If you pay close attention, you can win the game!

Origin and Etymology Behind Give Oneself Away

It’s challenging to pinpoint the exact origin of the phrase give yourself away, but it’s clear that it’s based on the concept of revealing something unintentionally. The word give is used in the sense of offering or revealing, and away says that the information was never meant to be shared but was let out nonetheless.

It’s like my husband every year around Christmas or my birthday. He always claims to have gotten me something small, but his insistence is always a dead giveaway that he’s lying. Sometimes he even breaks down and tells me exactly what my gift is!

Synonyms for Give Yourself Away

The phrase give yourself away might not fit into every conversation or piece of writing. Luckily, you’ve got these synonyms to choose from:

  • Betray oneself
  • Ruin it for yourself
  • Reveal oneself
  • Show one’s hand
  • Shoot yourself in the foot
  • Let the cat out of the bag
  • Spill the beans
  • Unmask oneself

Using Give Oneself Away in a Sentence

Give Yourself Away – Meaning Origin 1

Seeing a certain word or phrase in proper use is one of the best ways to learn how to wield it.

  • With his guilty expression, he completely gave himself away.
  • When she stuttered on her alibi, she unwittingly gave herself away in court.
  • My dad tried to keep his plans a secret, but his child-like excitement gave him away.
  • The surprise party was almost ruined when she nearly gave us away.
  • The thief gave himself away when he tried to sell the stolen goods.
  • Although she didn’t say a word, her tear-filled eyes gave her away.
  • He gave himself away by leaving the receipt for the engagement ring in his pocket.
  • My daughter gave herself away when she sat on her bed, and I heard candy wrappers crinkling.
  • Your body language can often give you away, even if you don’t say a word.
  • She gave herself away when she accidentally mentioned the surprise trip.

Sharing the Secrets of Idioms

And now you now know what it means to give yourself away and how to use it in a sentence. It’s idioms like this that can liven up a conversation or add some flare to your writing, so be sure to brush up on as many as you can. We’ve got endless idiom breakdowns like this one on our site.