[ kap-i-tey-shuh n ]
/ ˌkæp ɪˈteɪ ʃən /


a numbering or assessing by the head.
a poll tax.
a fee or payment of a uniform amount for each person.

Origin of capitation

1605–15; (< F) < Late Latin capitātiōn- (stem of capitātiō), equivalent to Latin capit- (stem of caput) head + -ātiōn -ation
Related formscap·i·ta·tive, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for capitation

British Dictionary definitions for capitation


/ (ˌkæpɪˈteɪʃən) /


a tax levied on the basis of a fixed amount per head
capitation grant a grant of money given to every person who qualifies under certain conditions
the process of assessing or numbering by counting heads
Derived Formscapitative, adjective

Word Origin for capitation

C17: from Late Latin capitātiō, from Latin 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

Word Origin and History for capitation



1610s, "counting of heads," from Late Latin capitationem (nominative capitatio), noun of action from past participle stem of a verb derived from caput "head" (see capitulum). Meaning "levying of a poll tax" is from 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper