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Let's say a friend of mine repeatedly asked me to go to a concert with them but the music was not to my taste and my friend knew that but kept insisting anyway until I eventually gave in and went to the concert with them.

My question is whether there is a verb/phrase in English that expresses the action of reluctantly accepting doing something just to make the other person stop bringing up the same subject again.

In my language, there is a verb that we use to express this idea, this verb can be roughly translated as "to walk with" in the figurative sense that "I walked with him regarding what he wants". When I tried to think of a synonym in English, the first verb that came to my mind was "to please" but I don't think this verb can be used here since it doesn't deliver the intended meaning.

For example:

He couldn't seem to stop asking me to go with him until I did what he wanted just to _________ him.

What can we use to fill the blank in this sentence?

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    A grammatical note about the answers so far, all of which sound good to my ear: "appease" and "placate" fit in the blank as-is, but "acquiesce" and "give in" would replace the second half of the sentence: "... until I acquiesced." or "... acquiesced to his demands." or "until I gave in [. / to him. / to his demands.]" (I'm not sure if you can say "acquiesced to him" -- it sounds a bit off to me.) Also, agreed with Void that "acquiesce" sounds formal and wouldn't be used in colloquial speech. – Glenn Willen Apr 8 at 22:38
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    I’m surprised no one has mentioned the option which I would argue is most likely to be heard in the exact context given here (with some minor changes to make the sentence more idiomatic): “He wouldn’t stop asking to go with him, so eventually I did what he wanted just to shut him up”. That’s quite informal and not particularly polite, but it is a very common expression. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Apr 9 at 20:40
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    Sometimes we do something for [the sake of] a peaceful life – Michael Harvey Apr 11 at 12:47
  • Broadly, no. Can you think of such a verb in any other language? – Robbie Goodwin Apr 11 at 20:30
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    Or more often, for a quiet life. – Michael Harvey Apr 12 at 11:54

12 Answers 12

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The verb to humor could be used here. Per Merriam-Webster, definition 1:

to soothe or content (someone) by indulgence : to comply with the temperament or inclinations of

The only way to get along with him is to humor him.

I know you don't agree, but just humor me.

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    That would be my choice. Better than giving in, acquiescing or placating, which are more general. "Humor me" means exactly "do something to please me". – Peter - Reinstate Monica Apr 9 at 8:38
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to give in is defined as "to finally agree to what someone wants, after refusing for a period of time" (Cambridge English Dictionary).

This sense of "give" used in this metaphor is "to stretch, bend, break, or become less tight under pressure" (Cambridge English Dictionary.

The picture painted by "to give in" is of a barrier such as a door or a dam bending, breaking, and collapsing inward.

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Another option is 'acquiesce', which MW defines as "to accept, comply, or submit tacitly or passively "

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    A classic illustration of the usage of 'acquiesce', which I couldn't resist linking: youtube.com/watch?v=GD861vNe0-w#t=56s – Glenn Willen Apr 8 at 22:43
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    This is the first word that came to mind for me also. It should be noted that this is a pretty formal word and is not typically used in typical conversations. – JeffC Apr 9 at 5:43
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    @JeffC: And one should also note that it is intransitive. – user21820 Apr 10 at 11:58
  • 2003. Classic. 😭 – Preston Apr 11 at 3:57
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to appease has the intended connotation of "reluctantly agreeing to pacify someone", and is probably the best match for the sentence.

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    This is simply wrong. To appease is to offer gifts or compensation to reduce hostility. This is an act of submission - acquiesce is the correct answer, although unlikely to be used in casual speech. "Just to shut him up" would be the more likely usage in common speech. – aaa90210 Apr 9 at 4:57
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    @aaa90120 appease: "Pacify or placate (someone) by acceding to their demands.". It doesn't have to involve material compensation, doing what the other person demands (eg. signing an act, or seeing a movie, etc.) is also an act of appeasement. And I don't think it's much of a stretch to consider stopping someone persistently nagging you as "pacifying" them. – Maciej Stachowski Apr 9 at 7:46
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    @aaa90210 I wouldn't say it's wrong but rather more general than "humor me", so not the best choice. You can certainly appease someone by simply doing what they demand, but there are the other ways you mention as well. – Peter - Reinstate Monica Apr 9 at 8:40
  • You would need to specify that you appeased the person by acceding to their demand (which the sentence does), but the word most certainly fits. – obscurans Apr 9 at 9:27
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    @Maciej Stachowski, Re "Pacify or placate (someone) by acceding to their demands", Yes, but not it doesn't imply reluctance. The effort is commonly everything but reluctant. For example, a manager might appease is an angry customer by giving them a refund or exchanging a product, a commonplace transaction where no reluctance exists. – ikegami Apr 9 at 15:24
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To placate (someone), according to the OED, means:

To make (a person) less angry or hostile; to pacify, conciliate; to propitiate.

M-W.com goes further to list placate as "to soothe or mollify especially by concessions", which matches your example of the friend who would not stop until you conceded or gave in (as in the other answer).

Incidentally, the OED's etymology of placate lists it as being from "classical Latin plācāt-", "probably related to placēre to please". This explicitly matches your original idea of "to please".

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    Wrong. You should have highlighted "soothe or mollify" which clearly does not apply. Acquiesce is the correct answer. – aaa90210 Apr 9 at 4:59
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    Mollifying a nagging person certainly fits. Dictionary definitions, which of course are just a summary of as-used cases, don't work as a blazing line in the sand where any minor deviation from the exact nuance renders the word "wrong". +1 – obscurans Apr 9 at 9:30
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Personally, I'm a fan of capitulate for this scenario:

Definition from Oxford Languages, via Google: cease to resist an opponent or an unwelcome demand; surrender.

Example: "After months of a friend asking me to join them at a concert, I finally capitulated ."

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To "cave", from "caved in" fits e.g. I didn't want to go but he kept pestering me and eventually I caved.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cave - third entry.

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relent, according to the Cambridge English Dictionary, means

to act in a less severe way towards someone and allow something that you had refused to allow before

Her parents eventually relented and let her go to the party.

The security guard relented and let them through.

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While not as good as some of the other answers, I think "begrudge" should be mentioned in this context. Merriam-Webster: "to give or concede reluctantly or with displeasure"

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You could say "I didn't really want to, but I went along with it." "To go along with" in this sense sounds pretty close both in literal and figurative meanings to your native language's phrase.

Merriam-Webster for go along with has this as sense 2:

2: to agree to do or accept (what other people want)

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Grudgingly

Grudgingly pairs well with many of the other answers here, being an Adverb rather than a verb, but depending on context could very much be the word you need.

M-W lists grudging as:

UNWILLING, RELUCTANT

a grudging supporter of the reform movement

a grudging admirer

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https://www.dictionary.com/browse/browbeaten

It doesn't fit your example sentence exactly, but you might say:

They browbeat him into agreeing to attend.

Or perhaps:

I was browbeaten into accepting his invitation <after much insistence>.

Note: this typically is used for situations that involve a good amount of pressure to do the thing. It's not as extreme as being bullied or forced to do something but for times when it's made clear that refusing will create a situation that is at least a bit unpleasant.

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