capitulate

verb ca·pit·u·late \ kə-ˈpi-chə-ˌlāt \
Updated on: 18 Nov 2017

Definition of capitulate

capitulated; capitulating
intransitive verb
1 archaic :parley, negotiate
2 a :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.

capitulate was our Word of the Day on 10/20/2015. Hear the podcast!

Examples of capitulate in a Sentence

  1. The country still refuses to capitulate despite its weakening army and dwindling resources.

  2. The teacher refused to capitulate: no calculators were to be used during the exam.

Recent Examples of capitulate from the Web

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.

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").

Origin and Etymology of capitulate

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

CAPITULATE Defined for English Language Learners

capitulate

verb

Definition of capitulate for English Language Learners

  • : 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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