verb suc·cumb \ sə-ˈkəm \
|Updated on: 2 Aug 2018

Definition of succumb

succumbed; succumbing; succumbs
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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Examples of succumb in a Sentence

  1. 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 ThubronNew York Times Book Review9 Apr. 2009
  2. 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 KlinenbergMother JonesMarch/April 2007
  3. 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 BiemaTime11 Apr. 2005
  4. 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 ZaremboNewsweek4 Dec. 2000
  5. They will pressure you, and you must try not to succumb.

  6. he finally succumbed and let his wife get rid of his dilapidated easy chair

Recent Examples of succumb from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of succumb

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

SUCCUMB Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of succumb for English Language Learners

  • : to stop trying to resist something

  • : to die

SUCCUMB Defined for Kids


verb suc·cumb \ sə-ˈkəm \

Definition of succumb for Students

succumbed; succumbing
1 : to yield to force or pressure
  • Don't succumb to temptation.
2 : 1die 1

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having an air of easy unconcern

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