Synonym Chooser

How does the verb capitulate differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of capitulate are defer, relent, submit, succumb, and yield. While all these words mean "to give way to someone or something that one can no longer resist," 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

When would defer be a good substitute for capitulate?

While in some cases nearly identical to capitulate, 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

When is it sensible to use relent instead of capitulate?

While the synonyms relent and capitulate are close in meaning, relent implies a yielding through pity or mercy by one who holds the upper hand.

finally relented and let the children stay up late

When can submit be used instead of capitulate?

The synonyms submit and capitulate are sometimes interchangeable, but 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

When could succumb be used to replace capitulate?

The words succumb and capitulate can be used in similar contexts, but 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

When is yield a more appropriate choice than capitulate?

In some situations, the words yield and capitulate are roughly equivalent. However, yield may apply to any sort or degree of giving way before force, argument, persuasion, or entreaty.

yields too easily in any argument


Thesaurus Entries Near capitulate

Cite this Entry

“Capitulate.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on capitulate

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