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I have been asked to translate into English the Spanish word animarse, as in

Se animó a venir al cine.

That could be translated into English as "he decided to come to the movies". The verb "to decide" is close in meaning, but to completely translate the word "animarse" I need to convey also the following two aspects:

  1. The fact that the thing to do represents a bit of unwanted work for the addressee, be it physical or mental (example: to overcome boredom).
  2. The fact that the speaker thinks that doing that will be good for the addressee.

So in the previous example, what I actually mean by "he decided to come to the movies" could be something like "he was a bit depressed and didn't want to do anything at all, but he finally overcame his dejection [point 1] and decided to come to the movies with us, and that cheered him up [point 2] and helped him with his problem".

I have already used a word that may be quite close in meaning: to encourage. But I don't think that verb can be used for the movies example. Or can it? Maybe "he felt encouraged to come to the movies"? Which English verb or expression could fit better what the Spanish verb animarse conveys?

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    @k1eran if that's a question for me, yes, it can be said that going to the movies was an effort for him, but he ended up having a good time, if that helps in the translation. Note that I made up that example, it's not something that actually happened.
    – Charlie
    Aug 28, 2018 at 12:58
  • (At least in Rioplatense Spanish) animarse a hacer algo in some uses has the meaning "overcome shyness or embarrasment [or mild fear] and do something", and I find that extremely hard to translate into English (in a single word). :-(
    – Pablo H
    Jan 18, 2023 at 14:23
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    "encouraging" is used for persuading someone else to do something, it doesn't mean "deciding to do something". You might like to rephrase the question.
    – Stuart F
    Jan 18, 2023 at 15:51

4 Answers 4

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Had someone been coaxing him to go to the movies? If so, you could say he acquiesced and went.

Merriam-Webster

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Try using determined to

The RAE gives two relevant senses of the Spanish pronominal (reflexive) verb animarse:

  1. verbo pronominal. Cobrar ánimo y esfuerzo.
  2. verbo pronominal. Decidirse, determinarse a hacer o decir algo. Se animó a venir.

I presume you're more interested in the sense given in (10) about deciding to do something, more than you are in sense (9) about “perking up” by getting or recovering energy.

You already mentioned decided to. A bit stronger would be resolved to.

But there's no reason you couldn't use determined to, which like resolved to indicates act of volition, of will. Here’s what the (paywalled) OED gives for this sense of the verb determine:

  1. a. intransitive (for reflexive). To come to the decision, resolve definitely (to do something).

Among the provided citations for this sense they give this one:

  • 1891 E. Peacock Narcissa Brendon I. 310      Narcissa determined to go at once.

I do think that's a good match for your example case.

Now to my own ear, English determined to sounds perhaps a little tiny bit fancier or more formal than decided to, but it’s certainly not dated or obsolete. More importantly, it adds a measure of determination by force of will to overcome some barrier (be it from ennui or worse) that decided to lacks, at least if used on its own like this.

Other Thoughts

If, though, you're looking for RAE sense 9, you might look at something along the lines of brought himself to or managed to find the energy to, or even plucked up the courage to if the circumstances supported that sort of turn of phrase.

If plucked up the courage falls on one end of the culture scale, then finally decided to stop slacking off and go off to the cinema/movie would fall at the other hand. It certainly sounds more conversational. Sure, you might in writing pluck up the courage to do something, or when delivering a formal speech, but in casual conversion saying someone quit slacking off and went and finally went and did something sounds perfectly normal.

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https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/relent

relent verb [ I ] US /rɪˈlent/

to do something you had refused to do before, or to allow someone to do something that you had refused to allow before:

For days we begged him to see a doctor about his cough, and finally he relented.

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It's a little bit hard to think of a translation that could express exactly what you want to say, but here are some possibilities:

  1. Motivated Because of a reason, he decided to go to the movies.

He felt motivated to come to the movies.

  1. Comfortable Since the person is in a process of overcoming something, that would make sense, ex: he finally was comfortable with going out with us, (again)

He felt comfortable (enough) to come to the movies.

  1. Disposed To feel like doing something after you were not very well

He felt disposed (enough) to come to the movies.

  1. Amenable Be inclined to accept something because of someone's influence, that suits if the speaker tried to convince him to do that

He felt amenable to come to the movies.

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You could as well try to combine a word close to encouraged + decide.

Ex:

  • He felt enthusiastic and decided to come to the movies.

  • He felt motivated and decided to come to the movies.

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