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

BEAT THE DOLDRUMS WITH THIS WORD OF THE DAY QUIZ!

We know you’ll tackle this quiz totis viribus! See how many words from the week of Oct 12–18, 2020 you get right!
Question 1 of 7
What does “Indigenous” 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