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caper1

[key-per]
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verb (used without object)
  1. to leap or skip about in a sprightly manner; prance; frisk; gambol.
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noun
  1. a playful leap or skip.
  2. a prank or trick; harebrained escapade.
  3. a frivolous, carefree episode or activity.
  4. Slang. a criminal or illegal act, as a burglary or robbery.
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Idioms
  1. cut a caper. cut(def 84).
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Origin of caper1

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

See more synonyms for caper on Thesaurus.com
3. stunt, antic, shenanigans. 4. spree, frolic.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for capering

Historical Examples

  • Dogs are capering about, a collie, a setter, a Boston terrier.

    The Conquest of Fear

    Basil King

  • My music has been logically composed, and with the ideas of my head; and, of course, there is very little room left for capering.

    The Secret Memoirs of Louis XV./XVI, Complete

    Madame du Hausset, an "Unknown English Girl" and the Princess Lamballe

  • Capering creatures, who behaved witlessly, yet were far from witless.

  • The officer looked at the capering Mr. Quin with a quiet eye.

    The Napoleon of Notting Hill

    Gilbert K. Chesterton

  • So the capering began, and the company stood back to make room.


British Dictionary definitions for capering

caper1

noun
  1. a playful skip or leap
  2. a high-spirited escapade
  3. cut a caper or cut capers
    1. to skip or jump playfully
    2. to act or behave playfully; frolic
  4. slang a crime, esp an organized robbery
  5. Australian informal a job or occupation
  6. Australian informal a person's behaviour
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verb
  1. (intr) to leap or dance about in a light-hearted manner
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Derived Formscaperer, nouncaperingly, adverb

Word Origin

C16: probably from capriole

caper2

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

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

caper

n.2

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.

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caper

v.

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

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caper

n.1

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper