The verb 'to succumb': would you use the inanimate reference for a human?
My language intuition may be imperfect. Still, in cases of overpowering and disruptive or damaging forces, I would refer words such as ‘yielding’ or ‘succumbing’ to inanimate objects. A tree might succumb to drought. A dam might yield to water. The effect would be that of a dramatic narrative.
I have noticed uses like a person's 'succumbing to a wound/poison/cancer'.
Would you consider them natural?
I have seen succumb used like that and it sounds totally natural to me. Perhaps it doesn't sound natural to you because the word is not used much. Succumbing to someone else's wishes would be another way to use it. Synonyms are capitulate and concede. Those could not be use with inanimate objects. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/succumb
I have always thought 'to succumb' means to 'yield' or 'give in completely to'
whatever 'force' is threatening - i.e. water - drowning, poison, force of fall,
attack by other human or animal, in fact any 'attack' by whatever and in fact 'to' whatever. I think 'succumb can be ralated to anything/person.
Yes, medical journals refer to a person as succumbing to a disease.
Since most humans are inanimate by nature, at least in my experience, then I certainly would use the word succumb, seeing as how they all succumb so easily to being inanimate at the drop of a hat...tell someone to sit down and relax and become inanimate and they will, 99% of the time, oblige willingly.
I am not certain what your question means, to be truthful, but this is my best shot at an answer.
Now I am going to go and lay down and become inanimate for the remainder of the day. Wake me when Charlie Rose is on. I never miss it!
It really depends on your view of the definition of the word. In the case of "succumb" it can be a reference used to connotate a "giving up" or "dying" of sorts but it also can be used more in terms of "relenting" or "dropping resistance"....for example, "She always got her way and he too would eventually succumb to her charms". In this case, the term is simply a substitute for the phrase "give in" but with possibly a more erotic undertone. For me, "succumb" relates more to the human influences and would be used in some relative manner as opposed to an inantimate reference. With regard to the terminal aspects, I am more comfortable with the person "suffering" the wound/poison/cancer and succumbing to expected death. ~WB
If you care to say that when you become shot, your choice is to be shot down, fine with me, why should I question your language use. Do you choose to die - do you say, 'what the heck or hell, I just die right now, to be a nice guy' (succumb) ?
The initial question addresses the animacy of the direct object. In response to @Becky Katz, @teresapelka, switches to the animacy of the subject--by discussing 'negotiation' as a meaning component of 'succumb'.
I venture that, rather than animacy of either participant, what is at play here is the 'inevitability' of the outcome. That's close to what you were getting at with 'negotiation', but without involving the participants.
So, faced with a situation where the outcome is not inherently inevitable, an animate or inanimate (direct) object could succumb--or not. Where the inevitability is not in question--as with a guillotine, for example--it would be awkward to succumb.
It would be most awkward on the part of any commenters to try to win an audience saying 'he/she succumbed to the guillotine'. Obviously, they cut your head off not asking your permission. Wrong. If you don't have the head owner's permission, leave it
According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, yielding to overwhelming force or disease is the traditional meaning of the word succumb. To me the word implies resistance to the force or disease. "Succumb" feels natural to me in the examples you wrote, as long as the context involves a resistance to the force.
"The insecure teenager succumbed to peer pressure to drink stupidly.
His oddly thin legs succumbed under the weight he had to carry.
He finally succumbed to his illness on December 12th."
Yes, I would use it in such a way. It's a powerful word to use when you want to convey how someone, against his will, had to surrender or give in to something.
'His legs succumbed' shows the cognitive distance to the body part to fail. Legs don't have independent volition. You don't yet say you 'succumbed to a bullet/quillotine, etc. If someone robs you, it's not submissiveness if you can't defend yourself.
With that explanation I understand what you're asking for and the answer is No.
Thanks! I found this use the media and wondered if it really was correct. Myself, I'd never say someone 'succumbed' when he or she would be unable to act according to own volition. The media use is probably some overgeneralized dramatic narrative.
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