• synonyms


See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural ca·pos.
  1. any of various devices for a guitar, lute, banjo, etc., that when clamped or screwed down across the strings at a given fret will raise each string a corresponding number of half tones.
  2. the nut of a guitar, lute, banjo, etc.

Origin of capo1

1875–80; < Italian, shortening of capotasto capotasto
Also called capotasto.


[kah-poh, kap-oh]
noun, plural ca·pos.
  1. the chief of a branch of the Mafia.

Origin of capo2

1960–65; < Italian: head, leader < Vulgar Latin *capum for Latin caput; cf. chief
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for capo

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • I suppose that it is called Capo delle Gatte in reference to these cats.


    Franz von Lher

  • He had been chief of the Quarantia; three times a capo of the Ten.

  • A Capo broke it in pieces and removed the ducal cap from his head.

  • The bulls' heads on the frieze gave it the popular name of Capo di Bove.

    Walks in Rome

    Augustus J.C. Hare

  • And then the Parmesan, "I will put him to sleep and bear him to the capo in testa in our name!"

    "Persons Unknown"

    Virginia Tracy

British Dictionary definitions for capo


noun plural -pos
  1. a device fitted across all the strings of a guitar, banjo, etc, so as to raise the pitch of each string simultaneouslyAlso called: capo tasto (ˈkæpəʊ ˈtæstəʊ) Compare barré

Word Origin

from Italian capo tasto head stop


noun plural -pos
  1. the presumed title of a Mafia leader

Word Origin

Italian: head
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

Word Origin and History for capo


"leader of a Mafia 'family,' " 1952, Italian, literally "head" (see head (n.)).


"pitch-altering device for a stringed instrument," 1946, short for capo tasto (1876), from Italian, literally "head stop" (see head (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

  • About
  • Cookies, Terms, & Privacy
© 2018 Dictionary.com, LLC.