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[hwahyt-kap, wahyt-] /ˈʰwaɪtˌkæp, ˈwaɪt-/
a wave with a broken and foaming white crest.
Origin of whitecap
First recorded in 1660-70; white + cap1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for whitecap
Historical Examples
  • A whitecap foamed above it and broke across in a snow-white smother.

    The Sea-Wolf Jack London
  • He is too near the water now; the glare and the dancing waves bother him; he loses his gleam of silver in the flash of a whitecap.

    Wood Folk at School William J. Long
  • And d'ye think I didn't see Mr. whitecap going down, afore ye thought o' a row yerself?

    Gwen Wynn Mayne Reid
  • But the shore was protected by a double line of reefs, so close in that the channel between did not show a whitecap.

    Into the Primitive Robert Ames Bennet
  • In a wave without a whitecap the water returns to practically the original point after completing a circle beneath the surface.

    Climatic Changes Ellsworth Huntington
  • But the journey was a jubilant one, and they welcomed the first gleaming of whitecap pond with whoops of delight.

    The Rival Campers Ashore

    Ruel Perley Smith
British Dictionary definitions for whitecap


a wave with a white broken crest
(US) a member of a vigilante organization that attempts to control a community
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 whitecap

1660s, of birds, from white + cap (n.). Attested from 1773 in reference to breaking waves, from 1818 of mushrooms, and from 1891 in reference to "one of a self-constituted band in U.S. who committed outrages under pretense of regulating public morals" [OED].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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