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[kap-i-tuh] /ˈkæp ɪ tə/
plural of caput.


[key-puh t, kap-uh t] /ˈkeɪ pət, ˈkæp ət/
noun, plural capita
[kap-i-tuh] /ˈkæp ɪ tə/ (Show IPA).
any head or headlike expansion on a structure, as on a bone.
Origin of caput
1640-50; < Latin: head

per capita

[per kap-i-tuh] /pər ˈkæp ɪ tə/
adjective, adverb
by or for each individual person:
income per capita.
Law. noting or pertaining to a method of dividing an estate by which all those equally related to the decedent take equal shares individually without regard to the number of lines of descent.
Compare per stirpes.
1675-85; < Latin: literally, by heads
Can be confused
per annum, per capita, per diem. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for capita
Historical Examples
  • I have in mind the experience of a capita on the "Comte de Flandre."

    An African Adventure Isaac F. Marcosson
  • In the early hours of the afternoon they re-embarked, the capita of the village coming to the beach to see them off.

  • I fear I am somewhat of a heretic with regard to the evidential value of folk-tales regarded as capita mortua of anthropology.

  • When a man, whether he was capita or slave, by his bad example endangered the peace of his country, Sanders fell upon him.

    Sanders of the River Edgar Wallace
  • In the Congo every group of native workmen is in charge of a capita, who would be designated a foreman in this country.

    An African Adventure Isaac F. Marcosson
  • Nothing however, was heard of the boat until now when the capita appeared and told a harrowing story.

  • Below the rapids are many small whirlpools, and the capita of the canoe takes advantage of these to help him on his course.

  • He will give you peace and full crops, and make you capita over your enemies.

British Dictionary definitions for capita


(anatomy) the plural of caput


/ˈkeɪpət; ˈkæp-/
noun (pl) capita (ˈkæpɪtə)
(anatomy) a technical name for the head
the main or most prominent part of an organ or structure
Word Origin
C18: from Latin

per capita

/pə ˈkæpɪtə/
adjective, adverb
of or for each person
Word Origin
Latin, literally: according to heads
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 capita

per capita

Latin, literally "by the head," from per (see per) + capita "head" (see capital).



"head," in various senses, from Latin caput (see capitulum).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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capita in Medicine

caput cap·ut (kāp'ut, -ət)
n. pl. cap·i·ta (kāp'ĭ-tə)
The head.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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capita in Culture
per capita [(puhr kap-i-tuh)]

A Latin phrase literally meaning “by heads,” and translated as “for each person.” It is a common unit for expressing data in statistics. A country's per capita personal income, for example, is the average personal income per person.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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