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What is the word for “changing one’s opinion”?

I’m looking for something similar to concede, but that implies that the person knew the right answer all along but was just pretending that the answer was something else. What if I want to imply that the person was sure of something, but something changed what he thought?

More specifically, the sentence I’m writing is

He thought this . . . but after being criticized, he __ that the critics were correct".

It’s actually a negative effect, his way of thinking permanently changed due to criticism (and I’m trying to say his original opinion was better).

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Is this a simple reversal of their opinion? Or more along the lines that they'd been convinced based on facts or arguements presented? – Donald Young Nov 5 '12 at 22:50
This is Not Constructive. If he knew all along, he conceded, admitted, and if he didn't, he accepted, realised. If his whole world-view was permanently changed by losing the argument, perhaps he had an epiphany – FumbleFingers Nov 6 '12 at 5:48
It's an opinion. There's nothing to be known. It wasn't an argument, it as criticism. See the answer I accepted; that fits what I need. – asymptotically Nov 6 '12 at 5:59
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Regarding the final sentence of the question (as quoted below) related words among others include co-opt, assimilate, hoodwink, cave, and perhaps recant.

It's actually a negative effect, his way of thinking permanently changed due to criticism (and I'm trying to say his original opinion was better).

However, to fit those words into your sample sentence (“he thought this ... but after being criticized, he __ that the critics were correct”) requires adjustments, perhaps as illustrated in the following samples.

• He thought his views were sound but the critics soon co-opted him.
• His views were sound, but he caved under withering criticism.
• Under light but unrelenting peer pressure, he recanted and was assimilated.
• Despite his precise and marvelous mind, the critics soon hoodwinked him.

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Wow! Recant is so amazingly perfect! Thank you so much! – asymptotically Nov 6 '12 at 5:18

Not a word, but a phrase: "saw the light"

edit (after comment by OP)

Submit (to), then, or "knuckle under"

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No, I'm not trying to imply that his new way of thinking was right. More specifically, the sentence I'm writing is "he thought this ... but after begin criticized, he _____ that the critics were correct". It's actually a negative effect, his way of thinking permanently changed due to criticism (and I'm trying to say his original opinion was better) – asymptotically Nov 5 '12 at 22:54
Yep, submit to sounds good. Thanks :) – asymptotically Nov 5 '12 at 23:30
I searched for synonyms of submit, and found 'succumbed', so I've used 'succumbed to believe', which I feel carries the right connotation. Thanks! – asymptotically Nov 6 '12 at 2:18

A few options come to mind:

"he thought this... but after being criticized, he __ that the critics were correct"

  • realized
  • agreed
  • concurred
  • admitted
  • was persuaded
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+1, or decided, concluded, came around to the fact – Jim Nov 5 '12 at 23:24
I'm trying to emphasize that he changed his mind for the worse. Something like "I practiced music therapy. He was criticized harshly, and he was so affected by it that he even started giving speeches against it". So he ___ that the critics were correct. – asymptotically Nov 6 '12 at 2:01
Depending on the context, perhaps "convinced himself" might work as well. Although, that too carries with it a certain a connotation. Based upon the answer you accepted, I assume you're looking to imply an element of disguist or otherwise distastefulness. How about: "So he relegated himself into believing that his critics were correct."? – Alexander Nov 6 '12 at 3:50

I think you are looking for something like:
gave in,
backed down,
caved in,
threw in the towel,
washed his hands of,

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I'm not saying he gave into it. I'm saying he was completely converted (and I think for the worse). These words imply that he just gave up hope and agreed with his critics. But thanks for resigned, that helped me elsewhere :) – asymptotically Nov 6 '12 at 2:03
@asymptotically- Oh, I see, so he was corrupted, tainted, warped, perverted, or debauched? – Jim Nov 6 '12 at 6:30
  • capitulated
  • acquiesced
  • agreed begrudgingly
  • resigned himself to the fact
  • caved in under pressure
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A person would changes his opinion, particularly to the opposite one, has been converted.

It was discussed heavily in the Bible; perhaps the most striking example was Saul on the road to Damascus.

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I'm trying to replace the blank given in the question. But thanks for the reference :) – asymptotically Nov 6 '12 at 2:04
@asymptotically: Your version of the word would be "conversion." – Tom Au Nov 9 '12 at 2:11
Conversion doesn't necessarily imply a negative transformation. – asymptotically Nov 9 '12 at 7:39

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