1

Consider the sentence below.

They often attributed their alcoholism to connubial stress, boredom, or depression. A large percentage of the women give family histories of alcoholism.

(Source)

I can guess that it implies large percentage of the women afflicted with alcoholism have had a alcoholic person in their family.

I scrutinized the verb "give" in my Oxford dictionary, but I was not able to come across with any definition related to the above context.

Could you please tell me, which definition of the verb "give" has been used in the above sentence?


More Info:

I have checked below definitions, but I'm not able to discern the appropriate definition used above.

  1. provide someone with something
  2. make someone owner of something
  3. put medicine in someone
  4. cause effect/experience
  5. communicate
  6. perform action
  7. allow someone to do something
  8. pass illness to someone else
  9. pay money
  10. stretch/bend/break etc
  11. change decision
  12. use all time/energy
  • Thank you for your hard work trying to discover the best meaning. Do you have the source of this quote, such as the name of the text, book, journal, magazine...? And a link to it, perhaps? – Alan Carmack May 15 '16 at 18:59
  • Okay, I've added a matching source. Note that the text says family histories (plural), as family history without a determiner (such as the indefinite article) is incorrect. – Alan Carmack May 15 '16 at 19:14
  • @AlanCarmack Thank you for the correction. I wasn't online for hours. However, you are absolutely right about the article and I am sorry – Cardinal May 16 '16 at 14:24
2

A large percentage of the women give family histories of alcoholism.

Words like give have such a broad usage that it can be difficult to pin down. In your example it is related to providing information.
I would use one of these for give:

4) to relay; pass along" ⇒ to give regards to someone"
14) to put forward for acceptance or rejection; offer; proffer" ⇒ to give a suggestion"

In your definitions, 5) communicate is the closest one.

1

They often attributed their alcoholism to connubial stress, boredom, or depression. A large percentage of the women give family histories of alcoholism.

Give here most likely refers to when a woman reports her family history to a medical professional or social worker.

Frankly, give is not very idiomatic in this sentence and the verb report is what I would use. But I understand the book is trying to use simple words.

So give here means report ; (communicate is close to this).

Note that in reporting her family history she is "giving it" to somebody (using words), so this falls under the general idea of Definition 1.

Your guess about the clause is correct as a "family history" is

The part of a medical history concerned with diseases, traits, and causes of death occurring within a patient's family.

(Oxford dictionary)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.