[key-puh t, kap-uh t]
noun, plural ca·pi·ta [kap-i-tuh] /ˈkæp ɪ tə/. Anatomy.
  1. any head or headlike expansion on a structure, as on a bone.

Origin of caput

1640–50; < Latin: head

per capita

[per kap-i-tuh]
adjective, adverb
  1. by or for each individual person: income per capita.
  2. Law. noting or pertaining to a method of dividing an estate by which all those equally related to the decedent take equal shares individually without regard to the number of lines of descent.Compare per stirpes.

Origin of per capita

1675–85; < Latin: literally, by heads
Can be confusedper annum per capita per diem Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for capita

Historical Examples of capita

  • I have in mind the experience of a capita on the "Comte de Flandre."

    An African Adventure

    Isaac F. Marcosson

  • In the early hours of the afternoon they re-embarked, the capita of the village coming to the beach to see them off.

  • I fear I am somewhat of a heretic with regard to the evidential value of folk-tales regarded as capita mortua of anthropology.

  • When a man, whether he was capita or slave, by his bad example endangered the peace of his country, Sanders fell upon him.

  • In the Congo every group of native workmen is in charge of a capita, who would be designated a foreman in this country.

    An African Adventure

    Isaac F. Marcosson

British Dictionary definitions for capita


  1. See per capita
  2. anatomy the plural of caput


noun plural capita (ˈkæpɪtə)
  1. anatomy a technical name for the head
  2. the main or most prominent part of an organ or structure

Word Origin for caput

C18: from Latin

per capita

adjective, adverb
  1. of or for each person

Word Origin for per capita

Latin, literally: according to heads
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 capita

per capita

Latin, literally "by the head," from per (see per) + capita "head" (see capital).



"head," in various senses, from Latin caput (see capitulum).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

capita in Medicine


[kăput, -ət]
n. pl. cap•i•ta (kăpĭ-tə)
  1. The head.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

capita in Culture

per capita

[(puhr kap-i-tuh)]

A Latin phrase literally meaning “by heads,” and translated as “for each person.” It is a common unit for expressing data in statistics. A country's per capita personal income, for example, is the average personal income per person.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.