verb (used with object), capped, cap·ping.
verb (used without object), capped, cap·ping.
- cao yu,
- cap and bells,
- cap and gown,
- cap cloud,
- cap de la madeleine,
- cap gun
Origin of cap1
- See percussion cap
- a small amount of explosive enclosed in paper and used in a toy gun
- an emblematic hat or beret given to someone chosen for a representative teamhe has won three England caps
- a player chosen for such a team
- money contributed to the funds of a hunt by a follower who is neither a subscriber nor a farmer, in return for a day's hunting
- a collection taken at a meet of hounds, esp for a charity
- the natural enamel covering a tooth
- an artificial protective covering for a tooth
- the cloud covering the peak of a mountain
- the transient top of detached clouds above an increasing cumulus
verb caps, capping or capped (tr)
Word Origin for cap
c.1400, "to put a cap on," from cap (n.). Meaning "cover as with s cap" is from c.1600. Figurative sense of "go one better" is from 1580s. Related: Capped; capping.
late Old English cæppe "hood, head-covering, cape," from Late Latin cappa "a cape, hooded cloak" (source of Spanish capa, Old North French cape, French chape), possibly a shortened from capitulare "headdress," from Latin caput "head" (see head (n.)).
Meaning "women's head covering" is early 13c. in English; extended to men late 14c. Figurative thinking cap is from 1839 (considering cap is 1650s). Of cap-like coverings on the ends of anything (e.g. hub-cap) from mid-15c. Meaning "contraceptive device" is first recorded 1916. That of "cap-shaped piece of copper lined with gunpowder and used to ignite a firearm" is c.1826; extended to paper version used in toy pistols, 1872 (cap-pistol is from 1879).
The Late Latin word apparently originally meant "a woman's head-covering," but the sense was transferred to "hood of a cloak," then to "cloak" itself, though the various senses co-existed. Old English took in two forms of the Late Latin word, one meaning "head-covering," the other "ecclesiastical dress" (see cape (n.1)). In most Romance languages, a diminutive of Late Latin cappa has become the usual word for "head-covering" (e.g. French chapeau).
set one's cap for
Pursue someone romantically, as in We all thought Anne had set her cap for Joe, but we were wrong. In the 1700s this term, which may have alluded to donning one's best headgear, was applied to members of either sex, but by the early 1800s it generally described a woman chasing a man. It is probably obsolescent.
In addition to the idioms beginning with cap
- cap and gown
- cap in hand
- cap it all
- feather in one's cap
- hat (cap) in hand
- if the shoe (cap) fits, wear it
- put on one's thinking cap
- set one's cap for
Also see underhat.