- a Central and South American monkey, Cebus capucinus, having a prehensile tail and hair on the head resembling a cowl.
- any monkey of the genus Cebus.
- a hooded cloak for women.
- (initial capital letter) Also called Friar Minor Capuchin. Roman Catholic Church. a friar belonging to the branch of the Franciscan order that observes vows of poverty and austerity.Compare Friar Minor, Friar Minor Conventual.
Origin of capuchin
- any agile intelligent New World monkey of the genus Cebus, inhabiting forests in South America, typically having a cowl of thick hair on the top of the head
- a woman's hooded cloak
- (sometimes capital) a rare variety of domestic fancy pigeon
- a friar belonging to a strict and autonomous branch of the Franciscan order founded in 1525
- (as modifier)a Capuchin friar
Word Origin and History for ringtail monkey
1520s, from Middle French capuchin (16c., Modern French capucin), from Italian capuccino, diminutive of capuccio "hood," augmentative of cappa (see cap (n.)). Friar of the Order of St. Francis, under the rule of 1528, so called from the pointed hoods on their cloaks. As a type of monkey, 1785, from the shape of the hair on its head, thought to resemble a cowl.