Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day


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Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.



October 20th, 2015

Episode 355 of 923 episodes

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for October 20, 2015 is: capitulate \kuh-PIH-chuh-layt\ verb 1 : to surrender often after negotiation of terms 2 : to cease resisting : acquiesce Examples: The company capitulated to the labor union to avoid a strike. "All this cataclysmic destruction, aggression and resolute responseall this historytook place between Sept. 1, 1939, when Hitler invaded Poland and that August day in 1945 when Emperor Hirohito of Japan capitulated." The Chicago Tribune, 13 Aug. 2015 Did you know? Capitulate and its synonyms yield, submit, and succumb all mean to give way to someone or something, with a few slight differences in emphasis. Yield may apply to any sort or degree of bowing to force, debate, or pleading ("yields too easily in any argument"). Submit suggests surrender, after resistance, to the will or control of another ("a sinner submitting to the will of God"). Succumb imputes weakness and helplessness to the person giving in, or an overwhelming power to the opposition ("succumbing to temptation"). Capitulate stresses the termination of all resistance and may imply either a coming to terms, as with an adversary, or hopelessness before an irresistible opposing force ("officials capitulated to the demands").

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