[ kuh-pich-uh-leyt ]
/ kəˈpɪtʃ əˌleɪt /

verb (used without object), ca·pit·u·lat·ed, ca·pit·u·lat·ing.

to surrender unconditionally or on stipulated terms.
to give up resistance: He finally capitulated and agreed to do the job my way.

Nearby words

  1. capitoline,
  2. capitonnage,
  3. capitular,
  4. capitularies,
  5. capitulary,
  6. capitulation,
  7. capitulationism,
  8. capitulum,
  9. capiz,
  10. caplet

Origin of capitulate

1570–80; < Medieval Latin capitulātus (past participle of capitulāre to draw up in sections), equivalent to capitul(um) section (literally, small head; see capitulum) + -ātus -ate1

Related formsca·pit·u·lant, nounca·pit·u·la·tor, nounun·ca·pit·u·lat·ed, adjectiveun·ca·pit·u·lat·ing, adjective

Can be confusedcapitulate recapitulate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for capitulate

British Dictionary definitions for capitulate


/ (kəˈpɪtjʊˌleɪt) /


(intr) to surrender, esp under agreed conditions
Derived Formscapitulator, noun

Word Origin for capitulate

C16 (meaning: to arrange under heads, draw up in order; hence, to make terms of surrender): from Medieval Latin capitulare to draw up under heads, from capitulum chapter

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for capitulate



1570s, "to draw up in chapters" (i.e., under "heads"), in part a back-formation from capitulation, in part from Medieval Latin capitulatus, past participle of capitulare "to draw up in heads or chapters, arrange conditions." Often of terms of surrender, hence meaning "to yield on stipulated terms" (1680s). Related: Capitulated; capitulating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper