Caved In: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
March 5, 2024

"Caved in" refers to the act of yielding, submitting, or giving in, especially under pressure or after a period of resistance. This phrase often conveys weakness or failure to maintain one's position or stance. The term is derived from the literal collapse or caving in of structures, such as tunnels or buildings, suggesting a similar metaphorical collapse of resolve or resistance. For example, after initially refusing to go to the party, if someone eventually agrees to go under peer pressure, it can be said that they "caved in."

In short:

  • It signifies the act of yielding or submitting, often under pressure.
  • The phrase is derived from a literal physical collapse, implying a metaphorical collapse of will or resistance.

What Does "Caved In" Mean?

"Caved in" is a phrase that metaphorically describes giving in, succumbing, or submitting to pressure, persuasion, or force. It's often used when someone initially resists but eventually gives in to external demands, expectations, or pressures. The phrase can apply to various situations, from personal decision-making to political or business negotiations. For example, a negotiator who agrees to unfavorable terms after intense pressure from the other side can be said to have "caved in."

More about the phrase's meaning:

  • It suggests a weakening or abandonment of one's previous position or resolve.
  • The phrase often implies a negative outcome, where the person who caved in may feel defeated or compromised.
  • It can also indicate a practical or pragmatic decision when resisting is seen as futile or harmful.
  • "Caved in" can be used in both literal (physical collapse) and figurative (yielding under pressure) senses.
  • Similar phrases include "gave in," "succumbed," "yielded," and "capitulated."

Where Does "Caved In" Come From?

The phrase "caved in" originates from the physical act of caving in, where structures like caves, tunnels, or buildings collapse inward, often due to structural failure or external pressure. This literal collapse provides a vivid metaphor for the psychological or emotional act of collapsing under pressure. Over time, the phrase has been adopted into common language to describe surrendering or giving in, especially after a period of resistance.

10 Examples of "Caved In" in Sentences

Here are some examples to illustrate the use of "caved in" in sentences:

  • Despite his initial reluctance, he finally caved in and agreed to the terms.
  • After hours of debating, she caved in and let her children have a pet.
  • He caved into temptation and went to Sin City for the weekend.
  • He caved in and apologized after realizing his mistake.
  • Under the weight of evidence, the defendant caved in and confessed.
  • He caved in and bought the expensive shoes, not to mention the matching bag.
  • She was caught off guard when he caved in and agreed to marry her.
  • She caved in and ate the whole cake, but she lost count of the calories.
  • The team caved in under the intense pressure of the championship game.
  • Feeling overwhelmed, he caved in and sought professional help.

Examples of "Caved In" in Pop Culture

This phrase is also seen in pop culture:

  • "And Then the Roof Caved In" by David Faber delves into the causes and consequences of the financial collapse, offering a critical examination of Wall Street's greed and capitalism's failures.
  • "Caved In" is a gripping crime thriller full of twists that follows chief constable Peter Murchison as he navigates the complexities of a major investigation, penned by Roy Chester.
  • In "Edward Scissorhands" (1990), a poignant moment is captured with the line, "The roof caved in on him," underscoring the tragic circumstances surrounding the character Edward.
  • "Caved In: Prehistoric Terror," a TV movie directed by Richard Pepin, combines adventure and terror as a group of extreme adventurers unknowingly lead tourists through an expedition filled with dangers.

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say "Caved In"

Here are some synonyms or similar phrases:

  • Gave in
  • Succumbed
  • Yielded
  • Capitulated
  • Submitted
  • Buckled under pressure
  • Folded
  • Conceded
  • Acquiesced
  • Surrendered

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Caved In":

  • What does it mean when someone says they "caved in"?

When someone says they "caved in," it means they gave in to pressure or demands after initially resisting.

  • Is "caved in" a negative phrase?

It often has a negative connotation, suggesting weakness or failure to maintain one's stance.

  • Can "caved in" be used in a positive context?

It can be used positively, especially if the result of caving in leads to a beneficial outcome or resolution.

  • How does "caved in" differ from "compromised"?

"Caved in" often implies a one-sided surrender, while "compromised" suggests a mutual agreement or concession.

  • Can a company "cave in" to consumer demands?

Yes, a company can "cave in" to consumer demands, especially if it initially resisted those demands.

  • Is "caved in" appropriate in formal writing?

The phrase can be used in formal writing, but its suitability depends on the context and tone of the piece.

  • Can "caved in" apply to physical structures?

Yes, in its literal sense, "caved in" can describe the collapse of physical structures.

  • Does "caved in" always imply weakness?

Not always. In some contexts, caving in might be seen as a practical or strategic decision.

  • Can "caved in" be used in negotiations?

Yes, it's often used in the context of negotiations to describe a party giving in to the other's demands.

  • How can one avoid "caving in" under pressure?

To avoid caving in under pressure, one can develop resilience, assertiveness, and clear personal or professional boundaries.

Final Thoughts About "Caved In"

The phrase "caved in" is a powerful expression for conveying the concept of yielding or submitting, especially under pressure or after resistance. It is versatile and can be used in various contexts, from personal decision-making to high-stakes negotiations.

To recap:

  • It is commonly used to describe giving in to pressure or demands.
  • The phrase carries a range of connotations, from negative (suggesting weakness) to positive (implying practicality).
  • It emphasizes the dynamic of resistance and eventual submission.
  • "Caved in" is a useful expression for understanding human behavior and decision-making processes.

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