December 22 marks the beginning of Capricorn season. Capricorn is one of the Earth signs of the zodiac and is ruled by the planet Saturn.
Capricorns are often stereotyped as being stoic, practical, and persistent. And judging by some famous Capricorns, it may be true! If you were born between December 22–January 19, you’re in the company of boxer Muhammad Ali, writer J.D. Salinger, former First Lady Michelle Obama, and even Joan of Arc!
But, these aren’t the only words that apply to you practical Capricorns. Read on to see if others apply to you too.
But first, where did the word Capricorn come from?
To completely understand the traits of a Capricorn, let’s take a look at the word’s origins. The names of the signs of the zodiac originate from Latin. Capricornus (translated into Latin from the Greek aigokerōs for “goat-horned”) is composed of two parts: caper meaning “goat,” and cornū meaning “horn.” The sign gets its name and image from the constellation Capricornus.
Capricornus, discovered by Claudius Ptolemy, is the smallest constellation in the bunch. Known as the Goat-Fish, Capricorn is an Earth sign. Its imagery depicts a mythical goat with a fish’s tail to reflect its constellation.
Word origins, perhaps like goats, can be frisky—they can make some surprising leaps. Consider this: the Latin caper (“goat”) is related to cab. Yes, like a taxicab you’d hail in New York City. What could goats possibly have to do taxis?
Well, the Latin caper gives us the word cabriolet, a type of light, horse-drawn carriage that charged passengers a fee for transportation. Times, and technology, changed, and cabriolet was shortened to … cab. Cabriolet is based on the French cabrioler, “to leap,” the carriage so named for its bouncing movement. And cabrioler? The jumping, springing action of this verb is ultimately inspired by the movement of Latin’s caper, “goat.”
OK, back to words that describe Capricorns …
First, Capricorn looks and sounds a lot like capricious, a great for word meaning “characterized by sudden change or erratic behavior.” The two words are not etymologically related (capricious may actually derive from the Latin for “hedgehog,” if you can believe it). But, word origins aside, are Capricorns capricious?
Astrology dictates that they are far from it.
Here’s the good …
These words help explain why Capricorn is one of the most interesting signs in the zodiac:
- pragmatism: In fact, a dominant trait of Capricorns is pragmatism. That’s because they value effective planning, have high standards, and want to know all about someone’s goals for the future.
- assiduous: You won’t find another sign more assiduous than Capricorns. They aren’t afraid to put in overtime at work … whether that’s a good or bad trait is up to you to decide.
- genteel: When you get to know a Capricorn, other parts of their personality become apparent, including genteel, which is a wonderful word that describes someone who is polite, delicate, and refined (all things a Capricorn would love to embody).
- tenacious: A Capricorn is also someone who is tenacious. Like their goat constellation (goat-fish, we know), they are seen as persistent, stubborn, or even obstinate. They can have a one-track mind about their goals, not stopping until they get the results they want.
- stalwart: A deep friendship or romantic relationship will reveal someone who is a stalwart partner, otherwise described as loyal and steadfast. It might take a Capricorn time to open up, but when they do, they unfold as a person who has strong ideals related to relationships and will surely provide a stable environment.
- idiosyncratic: If a Capricorn has a crush on you, you might not notice at first. In unfamiliar situations, Capricorns are prone to being idiosyncratic, or letting the more peculiar and particular parts of their personality shine through.
Now the bad …
While Capricorns have some great traits, it’s important to know some words that identify weaknesses too:
- supercilious: Due to their love of status and achievement, they can come off as supercilious, which is a great synonym for haughty or stuck-up.
- pedant: The negative side of a Capricorn’s pragmatic nature is that they can be somewhat of a pedant. A pedant, or someone who overemphasizes rules or small details, can more casually be referred to as a goody-two-shoes.
WATCH: Is The Word "Pedantic" Good Or Bad?
- nefarious: But, be careful about making a Capricorn mad as they can be downright nefarious, or vicious, when upset!
While some people don’t believe in astrology and dismiss it as woo-woo, no doubt it’s fun to look up your birth chart and see what’s accurate and what isn’t. Try asking your Capricorn friends if they identify with any of these words!