[ kap-i-tl ]
/ ˈkæp ɪ tl /


the building in Washington, D.C., used by the Congress of the U.S. for its sessions.
(often lowercase) a building occupied by a state legislature.
the ancient temple of Jupiter at Rome, on the Capitoline.
the Capitoline.

Origin of Capitol

1690–1700, Americanism; < Latin capitōlium temple of Jupiter on Capitoline hill, Rome, taken to be a derivative of caput head; replacing Middle English capitolie < Old North French

Can be confusedcapital Capitol (see usage note at capital1)

Usage note Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for capitol

British Dictionary definitions for capitol


/ (ˈkæpɪtəl) /


  1. another name for the Capitoline
  2. the temple on the Capitoline
the Capitol the main building of the US Congress
Also called: statehouse (sometimes not capital) (in the US) the building housing any state legislature

Word Origin for Capitol

C14: from Latin Capitōlium, from 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 capitol



"building where U.S. Congress meets," 1793 (in writings of Thomas Jefferson), from Latin Capitolium, temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitoline Hill in ancient Rome. Used earlier of Virginia state houses (1699). Its use in American public architecture deliberately evokes Roman republican imagery. With reference to the Roman citadel, it is recorded in English from late 14c., via Old North French capitolie. Relationship of Capitoline to capital is likely but not certain.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper