[ kuh-pich-uh-leyt ]
See synonyms for capitulate on
verb (used without object),ca·pit·u·lat·ed, ca·pit·u·lat·ing.
  1. to surrender unconditionally or on stipulated terms: When he saw the extent of the forces arrayed against him, the king capitulated, and signed their list of demands.

  2. to give up resistance: He finally capitulated and agreed to do the job my way.

Origin of capitulate

First recorded in 1570–80; from Medieval Latin capitulātus (past participle of capitulāre “to draw up in sections”), equivalent to capitul(um) “section,” literally, “small head” + -ātus ; see origin at capitulum,chapter, -ate1

Other words for capitulate

Other words from capitulate

  • ca·pit·u·lant, noun
  • ca·pit·u·la·tor, noun
  • un·ca·pit·u·lat·ed, adjective
  • un·ca·pit·u·lat·ing, adjective

Words that may be confused with capitulate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use capitulate in a sentence

  • If Obama did it, he would look weak and appear to be capitulating to constituencies of the left.

    Endorse Gun Control, Mitt! | Mark McKinnon | July 22, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • He also pointed out that legalizing drugs would not mean that the government is capitulating to the cartels.

    The Man Who Tamed the Cocaine Capital | Constantino Diaz-Duran | October 19, 2010 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • I will tell you a secret, Chevalier; my only reason for capitulating was because I was short of powder.

    Court Beauties of Old Whitehall | W. R. H. Trowbridge
  • Oh, hang your morality, Mr. Joseph; it's rather good fun to see the 'insolent beauty' of the season capitulating.

    Roland Cashel | Charles James Lever
  • "Yet those were stern terms demanded from capitulating Louisbourg," spoke the Abbe thoughtfully.

    French and English | Evelyn Everett-Green
  • I feel as much as you, Mr. Redgauntlet, the delicacy of capitulating with our sovereign in his present condition.

    Red Gauntlet | Sir Walter Scott
  • It is natural to oppose one extreme by another; and those who avoid both easily appear to be capitulating with error.

    The History of Freedom | John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton

British Dictionary definitions for capitulate


/ (kəˈpɪtjʊˌleɪt) /

  1. (intr) to surrender, esp under agreed conditions

Origin of 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

Derived forms of capitulate

  • capitulator, noun

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