Green’s Dictionary of Slang

give v.3

[Yid. vi geht’s? what gives?]

[1930s+] (orig. US) to happen; usu. in phrs. below.

In phrases

what gives? [1940s+]

1. (also what goes? what makes?) a general greeting.

2. (also what’s giving? what goes?) as a query, what is going on? what is happening? thus what gives with —? how is —? what is going on with —?