ca·​pit·​u·​late | \kə-ˈpi-chə-ˌlāt \
capitulated; capitulating

Definition of capitulate 

intransitive verb

1 archaic : parley, negotiate

2a : to surrender often after negotiation of terms The enemy was forced to capitulate unconditionally.

b : to cease resisting : acquiesce The company capitulated to the labor union to avoid a strike.

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Synonyms & Antonyms for capitulate


blink, bow, budge, concede, give in, knuckle under, quit, relent, submit, succumb, surrender, yield



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Choose the Right Synonym for capitulate

yield, submit, capitulate, succumb, relent, defer mean to give way to someone or something that one can no longer resist. yield may apply to any sort or degree of giving way before force, argument, persuasion, or entreaty. yields too easily in any argument submit suggests full surrendering after resistance or conflict to the will or control of another. a repentant sinner vowing to submit to the will of God capitulate stresses the fact of ending all resistance and may imply either a coming to terms (as with an adversary) or hopelessness in the face of an irresistible opposing force. officials capitulated to the protesters' demands succumb implies weakness and helplessness to the one that gives way or an overwhelming power to the opposing force. a stage actor succumbing to the lure of Hollywood relent implies a yielding through pity or mercy by one who holds the upper hand. finally relented and let the children stay up late defer implies a voluntary yielding or submitting out of respect or reverence for or deference and affection toward another. I defer to your expertise in these matters

Did You Know?

Capitulate and its synonyms "yield," "submit," and "succumb" all mean to give way to someone or something, with a few slight differences in emphasis. "Yield" may apply to any sort or degree of bowing to force, debate, or pleading ("yields too easily in any argument"). "Submit" suggests surrender, after resistance, to the will or control of another ("a sinner submitting to the will of God"). "Succumb" imputes weakness and helplessness to the person giving in, or an overwhelming power to the opposition ("succumbing to temptation"). "Capitulate" stresses the termination of all resistance and may imply either a coming to terms, as with an adversary, or hopelessness before an irresistible opposing force ("officials capitulated to the demands").

Examples of capitulate in a Sentence

The country still refuses to capitulate despite its weakening army and dwindling resources. The teacher refused to capitulate: no calculators were to be used during the exam.

Recent Examples on the Web

And the pro-climate change was so compelling, the other guys capitulated. Eric Johnson, Recode, "How to make a big company more innovative," 30 Nov. 2018 This being Donald Trump’s Washington, many want to interpret all this as a sign that Mr. Powell is capitulating to the President’s loud criticism of higher rates. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Fed’s Welcome Rethink," 28 Nov. 2018 Rumors of such a challenge intensified Wednesday, led by pro-Brexit conservatives who feel that May capitulated to the EU. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Theresa May gets cabinet approval for her draft Brexit deal," 14 Nov. 2018 Cannot capitulate to violence and illegality on part of the French. Sam Webb, Fox News, "British fisherman call on Navy to protect them from aggressive French rivals in 'Scallop Wars'," 30 Aug. 2018 Some lawmakers have warned that Trump is capitulating without getting any concrete concessions from the Chinese and setting a dangerous precedent by meddling in a law enforcement matter. Damian Paletta And David J. Lynch,, "Trump, Chinese leaders moving forward on deal to save ZTE," 22 May 2018 But the speed in which Trump is working to cut this deal has drawn loud protests from some congressional Republicans, who have said Trump is capitulating too quickly without getting any concrete concessions from the Chinese. Damian Paletta,, "Trump and Chinese leaders are moving forward on deal to save ZTE," 22 May 2018 Boris had capitulated to Putin’s persuasion, the report said. Sabra Ayres,, "'Uncle Volodya, I dream of new dresses': greatest hits from Putin's annual call-in show," 7 June 2018 Yesterday, the National Football League capitulated to President Trump and announced a policy banning players from kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Most Unpatriotic President Ever Says Kneeling NFL Players ‘Shouldn’t Be in the Country’," 24 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'capitulate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of capitulate

1596, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for capitulate

Medieval Latin capitulatus, past participle of capitulare to distinguish by heads or chapters, from Late Latin capitulum — see capitulary

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Statistics for capitulate

Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for capitulate

The first known use of capitulate was in 1596

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More Definitions for capitulate



English Language Learners Definition of capitulate

: to stop fighting an enemy or opponent : to admit that an enemy or opponent has won

: to stop trying to fight or resist something : to agree to do or accept something that you have been resisting or opposing

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