capital

1
[ kap-i-tl ]
/ ˈkæp ɪ tl /

noun

adjective

Origin of capital

1
1175–1225; Middle English; (adj.) (< Anglo-French) < Latin capitālis of the head (capit-, stem of caput head, + -ālis -al1); (noun) < Medieval Latin capitāle wealth, noun use of neuter of capitālis (adj.)

Related forms

cap·i·tal·ness, noun

Can be confused

capital Capitol (see usage note at the current entry)

Synonym study

11. The adjectives capital, chief, major, principal apply to a main or leading representative of a kind. Capital may mean larger or more prominent; it may also suggest preeminence or excellence: capital letter, idea, virtue, etc. Chief means leading, highest in office or power: the chief clerk. Major may refer to greatness of importance, number, or quantity: a major operation, the major part of a population. Principal refers to most distinguished, influential, or foremost: principal officer.

Usage note

The noun capital1 refers to a city or town that is the seat of government; to a capital letter as opposed to a lowercase letter; and to wealth or resources. The noun Capitol refers primarily to the building in Washington, D.C., in which Congress sits or to similar buildings used by state legislatures.

Definition for capital (2 of 2)

capital

2
[ kap-i-tl ]
/ ˈkæp ɪ tl /

noun Architecture.

the distinctively treated upper end of a column, pier, or the like.

Origin of capital

2
1250–1300; Middle English capitale head (noun use of neuter of Latin adj.) for Latin capitellum, equivalent to capit- (stem of caput) head + -ellum diminutive suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for capital

British Dictionary definitions for capital (1 of 2)

capital

1
/ (ˈkæpɪtəl) /

noun


adjective

Word Origin for capital

C13: from Latin capitālis (adj) concerning the head, chief, from caput head; compare Medieval Latin capitāle (n) wealth, from capitālis (adj)

British Dictionary definitions for capital (2 of 2)

capital

2
/ (ˈkæpɪtəl) /

noun

the upper part of a column or pier that supports the entablatureAlso called: chapiter, cap

Word Origin for capital

C14: from Old French capitel, from Late Latin capitellum, diminutive of caput head
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

Culture definitions for capital (1 of 2)

capital

In architecture, the top portion of a column.


Note

The form of the capital often serves to distinguish one style of architecture from another. For example, the Corinthian, Doric, and Ionic styles of Greek architecture all have different capitals.

Culture definitions for capital (2 of 2)

capital

Money used to finance the purchase of the means of production, such as machines, or the machines themselves.


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.

Idioms and Phrases with capital

capital

see make capital out of.


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.