Where does caping come from?
The word cape, for the article of clothing, dates back to the 16th century, ultimately from a Spanish or Italian word for a sleeveless, cloak-like garment.
Caping came to describe matadors who used their capes to taunt a bull during a fight, e.g., he caped the bull.
It’s unclear when caping took on its slang meaning of “to defend or support someone,” but the slang evokes a cape-wearing superhero swooping in and saving someone from an attack.
Some have credited it to rapper E-40’s 1993 song “Captain Save A Hoe,” about acting like a superhero to win women. The song features the word cape, though it doesn’t use caping as such.
Whatever its exact origins, caping was established in black slang for “standing up for someone” by 2009. It is often used of people who are defending people considered unsavory in some way. It spread in the 2010s to other domains outside rap, from politics to sports.
“Shouted slurs” but the quotable y’all went with was ‘Get out of here’
Y’all be caping for white men and don’t even know it https://t.co/2T0nv5Abz2
— Sydney Cartier (@SydCartier) March 28, 2019
Examples of caping
Who uses caping?
Caping is used to describe when someone comes to the defense of a person considered indefensible, such as a bigot or sexual assailant. It’s used in the construction to cape for or caping for someone.
Stop caping for racists, Mike. Don’t you want a career?
— Senator_Corleone (@JimmyA_Shook1s) February 14, 2019
If you still caping for R Kelly, speak up so I can block you. https://t.co/Yp55vMxLAv
— Denny the Villain (@DennyVonDoom) February 14, 2019
The slang caping is not to be confused with the taxidermy term cape, which is the skinned hide of an animal, such as a deer, from its nose to the base of its neck or shoulders.
They are begging for it man…lol..bout whent an grabbed Jason's arrow starter kit an geta caping…lol pic.twitter.com/lD9dNt5t8z
— From_tha_back (@FromMosley) February 6, 2019
This is not meant to be a formal definition of caping like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of caping that will help our users expand their word mastery.