capstan

[ kap-stuhn, -stan ]
/ ˈkæp stən, -stæn /

noun

any of various windlasses, rotated in a horizontal plane by hand or machinery, for winding in ropes, cables, etc.
a rotating spindle or shaft, powered by an electric motor, that transports magnetic tape past the heads of a tape recorder at a constant speed.

QUIZZES

BECOME A PRO CHEF WITH THIS EXQUISITE CUISINE QUIZ!

Even if you can't be a professional chef, you can at least talk like one with this vocabulary quiz.
Question 1 of 9
You may have read the word "simmer" in a recipe or two, but what does it really mean?

Origin of capstan

1350–1400; Middle English <Middle French cabestan(t) <Old Provençal cabestan, variant of cabestran, presumably present participle of *cabest(r)ar, a verbal derivative of cabestre halter <Latin capistrum
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for capstan

British Dictionary definitions for capstan

capstan
/ (ˈkæpstən) /

noun

a machine with a drum that rotates round a vertical spindle and is turned by a motor or lever, used for hauling in heavy ropes, etc
any similar device, such as the rotating shaft in a tape recorder that pulls the tape past the head

Word Origin for capstan

C14: from Old Provençal cabestan, from Latin capistrum a halter, from capere to seize
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