Gosh, that other thread was indeed exhausting. I just re-skimmed
it to the end, skipping most of the picky argument, and I think it confirms my first thought, which was 'nachgeben,' as defended by Mausling. (What's happened to him? He was such a stalwart in this section.)
Selima's suggestions in her opening post here also look fine. In addition to them, 'nachgeben' as the most literal option might help German speakers understand where the idiom comes from.
To me the image is originally a physical one: something is causing increasing pressure or tension, so as it pushes or presses in one direction, something else has to give way, yield, offer less resistance. To me the Zusammenbruch is what will happen if something doesn't
give -- etwas muss nachgeben, sonst
kommt es (womöglich? can I use that?) zum Zusammenbruch / platzt es o.ä.
My other question, though, is whether there might be other forms somewhere that don't come up with a search on Dictionary: something give
For example, 'sth.
' instead of 'something'?
Or 'something's got to
' instead of 'has to'?
As it stands, it appears that there's only one translation given, but since 'give' is such a common verb, there's probably a long list of entries that include both 'give' and 'sth.' If the list goes beyond one page of hits, I can't access the other pages to see if any of them might be this sense.
But if this really is the only entry, I would support replacing it with, or at least adding, three or four better options.something has to give
something's got to give
sth. has to give
sth.'s got to give
(irgend)etwas muss nachgeben
es muß sich etwas ändern
es muß (endlich) etwas passieren
so geht das nicht weiter