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[kuh-par-uh-suh n] /kəˈpær ə sən/
a decorative covering for a horse or for the tack or harness of a horse; trappings.
rich and sumptuous clothing or equipment.
verb (used with object)
to cover with a caparison.
to dress richly; deck.
Origin of caparison
1585-95; < Middle French caparasson (now caparaçon) < Old Spanish caparazón, akin to capa cape1
Related forms
uncaparisoned, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for caparison
Historical Examples
  • It is a costume imposing and picturesque; while the caparison of his horse is in keeping with it.

    Gaspar the Gaucho Mayne Reid
  • The caparison of the knightly steed appears to have been of five kinds.

  • caparison, ka-par′is-un, n. the covering of a horse: a rich cloth laid over a war-horse: dress and ornaments generally.

  • The bridling and caparison of his mount, a splendid chestnut, represented alone a small fortune.

  • To his practised eye, their caparison tells that they are intended only for a short excursion, not a journey.

  • Mariposa said—respectful of the genius manifest in my caparison—that I looked "mos' ezzac'ly like a real, sure-'nough widder."

    When Grandmamma Was New Marion Harland
  • caparison is used rarely and somewhat slightingly, and trappings quite contemptuously, for showy human apparel.

    English Synonyms and Antonyms James Champlin Fernald
  • He then ordered the stablemen to caparison the two horses with handsome accoutrements.

    The Cid Campeador Antonio de Trueba
  • At the sound the grooms, who were here and there in the press, hasted to find and caparison the horses of their lords.

    Joan of the Sword Hand S(amuel) R(utherford) Crockett
  • In September she also gave him a quantity of cloth of gold, to make a caparison for his horse.

British Dictionary definitions for caparison


a decorated covering for a horse or other animal, esp (formerly) for a warhorse
rich or elaborate clothing and ornaments
(transitive) to put a caparison on
Word Origin
C16: via obsolete French from Old Spanish caparazón saddlecloth, probably from capacape1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for caparison

1570s, "cloth spread over a saddle," also "personal dress and ornaments," from Middle French caparasson (15c., Modern French caparaçon), from Spanish caparazón, perhaps from augmentative of Old Provençal caparasso "a mantle with a hood," or Medieval Latin caparo, the name of a type of cape worn by women, literally "chaperon" (see chaperon). Past participle adjective caparisoned is attested from c.1600, from a verb caparison (1590s), from French caparaçonner, from caparaçon.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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