ca·​pit·​u·​la·​tion | \ kə-ˌpi-chə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce capitulation (audio) \

Definition of capitulation

1 : a set of terms or articles (see article sense 1c) constituting an agreement between governments
2a : the act of surrendering or yielding the capitulation of the defenders of the besieged town
b : the terms of surrender

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of capitulation in a Sentence

her sudden capitulation surprised everyone; she usually debated for hours

Recent Examples on the Web

But these deals invariably hinge on the near-complete capitulation of the demandeur. Simon Nixon, WSJ, "Britain’s Brexit Dilemma: Should It Compromise, or Confront the EU?," 4 July 2018 If the Jews had no connection to the land, recognizing Israel would be a capitulation and a humiliation. Max Singer, WSJ, "Refute Palestinian Lies to Promote Mideast Peace," 6 Dec. 2018 Idlib is home to more than 3 million people, nearly half of them displaced from other parts of Syria, including armed groups who refused to accept the restoration of government authority following military offensives and capitulation deals. Fox News, "Syrian envoy rails against Turkish presence in north," 31 July 2018 The Chinese public could see any effort to soothe tensions as capitulation. Keith Bradsher, The Seattle Times, "China once looked tough on trade, but now its options are dwindling," 18 Sep. 2018 Some Justice employees, however, see Mr. Sessions’s stoicism as capitulation. Elizabeth Williamson, New York Times, "Jeff Sessions Is Serving, and Doing His Best to Ignore, Trump," 24 Apr. 2018 The parable of Mr Tsipras’s eventual capitulation—his radical government brought to heel by capital markets and an intransigent European Union—is seeping into the left’s consciousness. The Economist, "Why Labour is obsessed with Greek politics," 28 June 2018 Despite Jia’s apparent capitulations, Evergrande failed to deliver that first $300 million payment. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Faraday Future employees sue investor over ‘conspiracy’ to destroy the EV startup," 14 Nov. 2018 The simple truth is this: Being charged with a federal crime is the start of a nightmarish experience that usually leads to some form of capitulation. Michael Mccann,, "Why Maryland Receiving FBI Subpoenas Should Worry Other College Programs, Basketball Players," 7 July 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of capitulation

1535, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for capitulation

see capitulate

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about capitulation

Statistics for capitulation

Last Updated

23 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for capitulation

The first known use of capitulation was in 1535

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for capitulation



Financial Definition of capitulation

What It Is

Capitulation occurs when investors attempt to exit an investment or market so quickly that they are willing to surrender any and all gains to do so. Panicked behavior often causes a capitulation, and investors may attempt to liquidate most or all of their holdings in these circumstances.

How It Works

A capitulation frequently occurs after a security or a market has endured a long, downward slide in value; it is the final act of hitting bottom. There are four general signs a capitulation is occurring or has occurred.

Significant Changes in Trading Activity
Capitulations commonly involve unusually high trading volumes and price declines, typically over one or two trading days (although they can last longer).

High Levels of Cash Held by Mutual Funds
The presence of large numbers of investors attempting to exit the market by selling their Mutual Fund shares frequently compels mutual funds to hold high levels of cash in order to meet those demands.

Unusually High Derivatives Activity
Large increases in put purchases or option volatility indexes indicate that investors are either strongly betting against a market increase or are rapidly attempting to hedge against expected price declines.

Continued and Profound Negative Investor Sentiment
Capitulations are most frequently attributed to investors emotionally "giving up," rather than to external forces like changes in the fundamental outlook of a company. This negative investor sentiment may be the cause (or effect) of reaction and opinion communicated by the media, analysts, traders, or other investors.

Why It Matters

There is no guaranteed way to spot capitulation before it happens or while it is happening. However, because capitulations generally reflect the final bottoming-out of a security or market, prices typically increase after a capitulation. Thus, capitulations can also signal the beginning of a turnaround.

Source: Investing Answers

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on capitulation

What made you want to look up capitulation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!