Definition of capitulate in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /kəˈpɪtjʊleɪt/


[no object]
Cease to resist an opponent or an unwelcome demand; yield: the patriots had to capitulate to the enemy forces
More example sentences
  • The various forces converged in April 1945, and the Berlin garrison commander capitulated on 2 May.
  • So great was the demoralization that formidable fortresses capitulated to mere cavalry units.
  • But, as hostilities begin, these non-military efforts to influence combine with military force until the regime capitulates.
surrender, give in, yield, admit defeat, concede defeat, give up the struggle, submit, back down, climb down, give way, cave in, succumb, crumble, bow to someone/something;
relent, acquiesce, accede, come to terms;
be beaten, be overcome, be overwhelmed, fall;
lay down one's arms, raise/show the white flag
informal throw in the towel, throw in the sponge



Example sentences
  • They will be remembered, not as the reasonable, mature and statesmanlike figures they imagine themselves to be, but as abject capitulators to power and well-practiced accompanists to reaction.
  • The dolphins made it to the beach and the capitulators made it into deep water with minimal disturbance to the circadian rhythms of the seafront dwellers.
  • Some of these violent acts will be directed against the targets of non-capitulators that are located within the jurisdiction of the capitulators.


Mid 16th century (in the sense 'parley, draw up terms'): from French capituler, from medieval Latin capitulare 'draw up under headings', from Latin capitulum, diminutive of caput 'head'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: ca¦pitu|late

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.