from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A town or city that is the official seat of government in a political entity, such as a state or nation.
  • n. A city that is the center of a specific activity or industry: the financial capital of the world.
  • n. Wealth in the form of money or property, used or accumulated in a business by a person, partnership, or corporation.
  • n. Material wealth used or available for use in the production of more wealth.
  • n. Human resources considered in terms of their contributions to an economy: "[The] swift unveiling of his . . . plans provoked a flight of human capital” ( George F. Will).
  • n. Accounting The remaining assets of a business after all liabilities have been deducted; net worth.
  • n. Capital stock.
  • n. Capitalists considered as a group or class.
  • n. An asset or advantage: "profited from political capital accumulated by others” ( Michael Mandelbaum).
  • n. A capital letter.
  • adj. First and foremost; principal: a decision of capital importance.
  • adj. First-rate; excellent: a capital idea.
  • adj. Relating to or being a seat of government.
  • adj. Extremely serious: a capital blunder.
  • adj. Involving death or calling for the death penalty: a capital offense.
  • adj. Of or relating to financial assets, especially being or related to those financial assets that add to the net worth of a business: made capital improvements at the plant site.
  • adj. Relating to or being a capital letter.
  • n. Architecture The top part of a pillar or column.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Already-produced durable goods available for use as a factor of production, such as steam shovels (equipment) and office buildings (structures).
  • n. Money and wealth. The means to acquire goods and services, especially in a non-barter system.
  • n. A city designated as a legislative seat by the government or some other authority, often the city in which the government is located; otherwise the most important city within a country or a subdivision of it.
  • n. The most important city in the field specified.
  • n. An uppercase letter.
  • n. The uppermost part of a column.
  • n. Knowledge; awareness; proficiency.
  • adj. of prime importance
  • adj. excellent
  • adj. Involving punishment by death.
  • adj. uppercase

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to the head.
  • adj. Having reference to, or involving, the forfeiture of the head or life; affecting life; punishable with death.
  • adj. First in importance; chief; principal.
  • adj. Chief, in a political sense, as being the seat of the general government of a state or nation.
  • adj. Of first rate quality; excellent.
  • n. The head or uppermost member of a column, pilaster, etc. It consists generally of three parts, abacus, bell (or vase), and necking. See these terms, and column.
  • n. The seat of government; the chief city or town in a country; a metropolis.
  • n. Money, property, or stock employed in trade, manufactures, etc.; the sum invested or lent, as distinguished from the income or interest. See Capital stock, under Capital, a.
  • n. That portion of the produce of industry, which may be directly employed either to support human beings or to assist in production.
  • n. Anything which can be used to increase one's power or influence.
  • n. An imaginary line dividing a bastion, ravelin, or other work, into two equal parts.
  • n. A chapter, or section, of a book.
  • n. See Capital letter, under Capital, a.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Relating to the head; situated on the head.
  • Used at the head or beginning, as of a sentence, line, or word. See capital letters, below.
  • Affecting the head or life; incurring or involving the forfeiture of life; punishable with death: as, treason and murder are capital offenses or crimes; hence, fatal; most serious: as, a capital mistake.
  • First in importance; chief; principal.
  • Very good; excellent; first-class: as, a capital singer or player; a capital dinner; a capital fellow.
  • Syn. 4. Leading, prominent, important, essential.
  • Prime, splendid, perfect.
  • n. The city or town which is the official seat of government in a country, state, or province, or of justice in a county.
  • n. A capital letter (which see, under I.). Abbreviated cap.
  • To furnish or crown with a capital, as a pillar or column.
  • n. In political economics, that part of the produce of industry which, in the form either of national or of individual wealth, is available for further production; an accumulation of the products of past labor capable of being used in the support of present or future labor.
  • n. Specifically, the wealth employed in carrying on a particular trade, manufacture, business, or undertaking; stock in trade; the actual estate, whether in money or property, which is owned and employed by an individual, firm, or corporation in business.
  • n. Figuratively, productive resources of any kind, whether physical or moral; means of influence or of increasing one's power.
  • n. The head or uppermost member of anything.
  • n. In fortification, the line which bisects the salient angle of a ravelin.
  • n. The head of a still, a chimney, etc.
  • n. A chapter or section of a book.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a book written by Karl Marx (1867) describing his economic theories
  • n. a seat of government
  • adj. of primary importance
  • n. one of the large alphabetic characters used as the first letter in writing or printing proper names and sometimes for emphasis
  • adj. uppercase
  • n. the upper part of a column that supports the entablature
  • adj. first-rate
  • n. assets available for use in the production of further assets
  • n. a center that is associated more than any other with some activity or product
  • n. wealth in the form of money or property owned by a person or business and human resources of economic value
  • n. the federal government of the United States


From Middle English, principal, from Old French, from Latin capitālis, from caput, head, money laid out; see kaput- in Indo-European roots.
Middle English, from Anglo-Norman, from Late Latin capitellum, diminutive of Latin caput, head.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin capitālis ("of the head"), in sense “head of cattle”, from caput ("head") (English cap). Use in trade and finance originated in Medieval economies when a common but expensive transaction involved trading heads of cattle. (Wiktionary)



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  • That's a capital scotch you are drinking my friend...

    April 4, 2013

  • "Tank car(s), pickle and vinegar", in the language of railway telegraphers. --US Railway Association, Standard Cipher Code, 1906.

    January 21, 2013

  • "In fortification, the line which bisects the salient angle of a ravelin." --CD&C

    January 30, 2012

  • venture capital, capital city, capital knockers… but capitol building

    November 3, 2010

  • In architecture, the head of a column.

    August 24, 2008

  • Also a useful synonym for excellent.

    August 20, 2008

  • The basis of society

    September 18, 2007