[kap-tuh n, -tin]


verb (used with object)

to lead or command as a captain.

Nearby words

  1. capsulolenticular cataract,
  2. capsuloplasty,
  3. capsulorrhaphy,
  4. capsulotomy,
  5. capt.,
  6. captain cooker,
  7. captain jack,
  8. captain of industry,
  9. captain's bed,
  10. captain's biscuit

Origin of captain

1325–75; Middle English capitain < Anglo-French capitain, captayn < Late Latin capitāneus chief, equivalent to capit- (stem of caput) head + -ān(us) -an + -eus -eous

Related formssub·cap·tain, nounun·cap·tained, adjectiveun·der·cap·tain, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for captain

British Dictionary definitions for captain



the person in charge of and responsible for a vessel
an officer of the navy who holds a rank junior to a rear admiral but senior to a commander
an officer of the army, certain air forces, and the marine corps who holds a rank junior to a major but senior to a lieutenant
the officer in command of a civil aircraft, usually the senior pilot
the leader of a team in games
a person in command over a group, organization, etc; leadera captain of industry
US a police officer in charge of a precinct
US and Canadian (formerly) a head waiter
Also called: bell captain US and Canadian a supervisor of bellboys in a hotel
Australian informal a person who is buying drinks for people in a bar


(tr) to be captain of
Derived Formscaptaincy or captainship, noun

Word Origin for captain

C14: from Old French capitaine, from Late Latin capitāneus chief, 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 captain
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper