succumb

verb
suc·​cumb | \ sə-ˈkəm How to pronounce succumb (audio) \
succumbed; succumbing; succumbs

Definition of succumb

intransitive verb

1 : to yield to superior strength or force or overpowering appeal or desire succumb to temptation
2 : to be brought to an end (such as death) by the effect of destructive or disruptive forces

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Choose the Right Synonym for succumb

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?

If the idea of someone succumbing brings to mind the image of a person lying down before more powerful forces, you have an excellent grasp of the Latin that gave us succumb. Succumb derives from the French word succomber, which is itself from the Latin word succumbere, meaning "to fall down" or "to yield." Succumbere was formed by combining sub-, meaning "under," with -cumbere, meaning "to lie down." The earliest application of succumb in the late 15th century was as a transitive verb meaning "to bring down" or "to overwhelm," but this sense is now obsolete. The current sense of "to yield" first appeared in print in the early 17th century; the more specific use-yielding to a disease or other destructive force-followed two centuries later.

Examples of succumb in a Sentence

Lepanto occupies a curious military fault line between ancient and modern. It was fought with galleys almost identical to those that had clashed in this same gulf sixteen centuries before, when the ships of Antony and Cleopatra succumbed to those of Octavian at the Battle of Actium. — Colin Thubron, New York Times Book Review, 9 Apr. 2009 Last spring, the Knight Ridder chain succumbed to pressure from its largest private investor and sold off its entire lineup of 32 papers to the McClatchy Co. for more than $4 billion. — Eric Klinenberg, Mother Jones, March/April 2007 Yet after Paul died in 1978 and his successor John Paul I succumbed to a heart attack only 34 days into his papacy, Wojyla was so oblivious to his impending fate that he spent the first day of the new papal conclave nonchalantly browsing through a quarterly review of Marxist theory. — David Van Biema, Time, 11 Apr. 2005 Interviews with cadets, police officers and investigators trying to crack down on crime inside Mexico City's 80,000-officer force revealed that even the most earnest cops often succumb to the temptations that are both plentiful and low risk. — Alan Zarembo, Newsweek, 4 Dec. 2000 They will pressure you, and you must try not to succumb. he finally succumbed and let his wife get rid of his dilapidated easy chair
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Recent Examples on the Web There’s also little legal precedent about what would be done if the President were to succumb to his illness or become critically ill before November 3. Nicole Goodkind, Fortune, "What Trump’s COVID-positive presidential campaign could look like," 2 Oct. 2020 Brad was onscreen looking the same but a touch older, as a braying mob of hornies salivated at the door, ready to succumb to his pure Brad Pitt-ness. Raven Smith, Vogue, "The Curious Case of Brad Pitt," 24 Sep. 2020 Special attention needed: Some are more likely to succumb to food poisoning from E. coli; children and newborns, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with weak immune systems are among those more susceptible. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, "Labor Day barbecue food safety: Grilling your burgers wrong could kill you this holiday weekend," 6 Sep. 2020 America’s existing nuclear power fleet, the largest in the world, is continuing to succumb to economic challenges as the development of new small reactors to supplement them faces more setbacks. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy: Trump’s environmental regulatory rollbacks would last years into a Biden administration," 27 Aug. 2020 Twelve hours later, his sister, Liu, 59, died in Wuchang Hospital, the first Chinese nurse to succumb to the virus. Washington Post, "A mysterious new illness turns deadly," 27 Sep. 2020 Infection is an ever-present concern, and patients who contract staph or pneumonia often succumb to it. Brett Simpson, SFChronicle.com, "Bay Area dialysis patients risk their lives to stay alive during pandemic," 30 Aug. 2020 The first inmate to succumb to the disease in the state, a man between 50 and 60 years old, died at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem in May. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Infected minks, airport layoffs, crawfish farmers: News from around our 50 states," 18 Aug. 2020 How did a mother who didn't have any of the risk factors for PPD -- factors that include a personal or family history of depression and lack of social support -- still succumb to it? Sneha Kohli Mathur, CNN, "Postpartum depression: A family hopes their loss will help others," 25 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'succumb.' 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 succumb

1604, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for succumb

French & Latin; French succomber, from Latin succumbere, from sub- + -cumbere to lie down; akin to Latin cubare to lie

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Time Traveler for succumb

Time Traveler

The first known use of succumb was in 1604

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Last Updated

18 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Succumb.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/succumb. Accessed 29 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for succumb

succumb

verb
How to pronounce succumb (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of succumb

somewhat formal
: to stop trying to resist something
: to die

succumb

verb
suc·​cumb | \ sə-ˈkəm How to pronounce succumb (audio) \
succumbed; succumbing

Kids Definition of succumb

1 : to yield to force or pressure Don't succumb to temptation.

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