verb (used without object)

to leap or skip about in a sprightly manner; prance; frisk; gambol.


a playful leap or skip.
a prank or trick; harebrained escapade.
a frivolous, carefree episode or activity.
Slang. a criminal or illegal act, as a burglary or robbery.


    cut a caper. cut(def 84).

Origin of caper

1585–95; figurative use of Latin caper he-goat (cognate with Old English hæfer, Old Norse hafr, Old Irish caera sheep < a West IE term *kap-(e)ro- for a domesticated smaller animal); for the meaning, cf. dog (v.)
Related formsca·per·er, nounca·per·ing·ly, adverbun·ca·per·ing, adjective

Synonyms for caper

3. stunt, antic, shenanigans. 4. spree, frolic. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for capering

Historical Examples of capering

British Dictionary definitions for capering




a playful skip or leap
a high-spirited escapade
cut a caper or cut capers
  1. to skip or jump playfully
  2. to act or behave playfully; frolic
slang a crime, esp an organized robbery
Australian informal a job or occupation
Australian informal a person's behaviour


(intr) to leap or dance about in a light-hearted manner
Derived Formscaperer, nouncaperingly, adverb

Word Origin for caper

C16: probably from capriole




a spiny trailing Mediterranean capparidaceous shrub, Capparis spinosa, with edible flower buds
any of various similar plants or their edible partsSee also bean caper, capers

Word Origin for caper

C15: from earlier capers, capres (assumed to be plural), from Latin capparis, from Greek kapparis
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 capering



by 1590s, "playful leap or jump," from caper (v.); meaning "prank" is from 1840; that of "crime" is from 1926. To cut capers "dance in a frolicsome way" is from c.1600.



1580s, apparently short for obsolete capriole "to leap, skip," probably from Italian capriolare "jump in the air" (see cab). Related: Capered; capering.



type of prickly Mediterranean bush, also in reference to the plant's edible buds, late 14c., from Latin capparis (source of Italian cappero, French câpre, German Kaper), from Greek kapparis "the caper plant or its fruit," of uncertain origin. Arabic kabbar, Persian kabar are from Greek. Perhaps reborrowed into English 16c. The final -s was mistaken for a plural inflection in English and dropped.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper