ca·​pit·​u·​late | \ kə-ˈpi-chə-ˌlāt How to pronounce capitulate (audio) \
capitulated; capitulating

Definition of capitulate

intransitive verb

1a : 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.
2 archaic : parley, negotiate

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Synonyms & Antonyms for capitulate



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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

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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 The governor again refused to capitulate to the growing pressure during a conference call with reporters Friday. Carly Roman, Washington Examiner, "'This is a bad guy': Andrew Cuomo biographer says he belittled his wife during marriage," 13 Mar. 2021 An emboldened Taliban are set on either winning on the battlefield or forcing the Afghan government to capitulate in their ongoing peace talks in Qatar. New York Times, "Three Women Working for a News Outlet Are Gunned Down in Afghanistan," 2 Mar. 2021 To get the gavels and move things along, Democrats may have to give up much of their power and capitulate to McConnell’s request on the filibuster. Philip Elliott, Time, "Why Mitch McConnell Is Filibustering to Protect the Filibuster," 22 Jan. 2021 Wall Street is betting that the Biden-Harris White House will capitulate to China and SME makers. James Marks, Fortune, "How Biden can avoid China getting its hands on sensitive military technology," 13 Dec. 2020 But Pelosi thus far doesn't seem willing to capitulate on the size and key sticking points, and neither does McConnell. Anne Sraders, Fortune, "Will another $1,200 stimulus check ever come? Here’s what we know," 11 Nov. 2020 Their response was not merely to capitulate to this state of affairs, but to work, slowly yet surely, to change it. Jack Butler, National Review, "Why the Left Is Mad about the Supreme Court," 1 Nov. 2020 If the Colts get an early lead, the Bears aren’t going to capitulate the way the Vikings and Jets did. Joel A. Erickson, The Indianapolis Star, "Insider: 28 things to watch as Colts take on undefeated Bears," 3 Oct. 2020 Then in a message that the regime is refusing to capitulate, the Central Elections Commission announced its final election results: roughly 80 percent of the vote went to Lukashenko. Michael Birnbaum, Washington Post, "From self-exile, Belarus opposition leader calls for protests to reach ‘every city’," 14 Aug. 2020

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 2

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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Time Traveler for capitulate

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The first known use of capitulate was in 1596

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Last Updated

18 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Capitulate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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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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