I have found the following passage on a neighbour site of the SE network (https://workplace.stackexchange.com/a/56997/22315):

Your boss might try to haggle. Never fold to that.

As I might suggest, the verb "to fold to" in the context means:

do something, being not able to withstand the outside pressure

but I haven't found this meaning in the dictionary. Am I wrong in my understanding of the word meaning in that particular context?


2 Answers 2


To fold is a term used in card games such as poker - meaning instead of matching a raise of a bet, you give up, forfeiting what you've put in the pot so far. (If you haven't played poker before, get with some friends and give it a try and this will all make sense.)

When negotiating, there is a "give and take" between the parties involved. Progress can be made in negotiations by making an offer or concession, which is countered by the other party with a different offer or concession. Folding in this case would mean you are not going to counter offer, and simply accept what the other party is proposing without resistance.

  • Got it! Never would have thought of that meaning. I love playing poker, but as I am not a native speaker, I don't have english slang for poker loaded to my head) Nov 4, 2015 at 9:34

Your understanding is correct. Did you try looking up all the meanings of fold?

Definition of FOLD
transitive verb
7 a: to concede defeat by withdrawing (one's cards) from play (as in poker)


I agree that the way the original author uses "fold" is a little unusual; I don't think I've heard anyone say "to fold to something" before, although Merriam-Webster says it's a transitive verb.

  • 6
    Interesting - it's quite a common expression in my dialect. "Don't fold to pressure - keep fighting!" Although "fold under pressure" is also common. You can also "fold to fear", or "fold to public opinion", - I think you can use "fold to" with almost any word that describes something that opposes what someone would like to do. How would you use fold without "to"?
    – ColleenV
    Nov 3, 2015 at 18:41
  • 2
    I wouldn't say I've never seen "fold to X", but I feel like "fold under pressure" or maybe "fold in the face of" a lot. Mostly I feel like it's used more as an intransitive verb, so you don't "fold to" anything any more than you "sneeze to" something!
    – stangdon
    Nov 3, 2015 at 19:28
  • 3
    After thinking about it, "fold under pressure" is a different sense of fold than "fold to pressure". Folding under pressure has the sense of collapsing under the weight of something because you aren't strong enough. Folding to pressure has the sense of being able to continue the contest, but deciding to give up because the cost or risk of losing isn't worth the effort to continue (similar to folding in a poker game).
    – ColleenV
    Nov 3, 2015 at 19:45

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