from The Century Dictionary.

  • To furnish or crown with a capital, as a pillar or column.
  • noun A chapter or section of a book.
  • 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.
  • noun The city or town which is the official seat of government in a country, state, or province, or of justice in a county.
  • noun A capital letter (which see, under I.). Abbreviated cap.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Figuratively, productive resources of any kind, whether physical or moral; means of influence or of increasing one's power.
  • noun The head or uppermost member of anything.
  • noun In fortification, the line which bisects the salient angle of a ravelin.
  • noun The head of a still, a chimney, etc.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective obsolete Of or pertaining to the head.
  • adjective Having reference to, or involving, the forfeiture of the head or life; affecting life; punishable with death.
  • adjective First in importance; chief; principal.
  • adjective Chief, in a political sense, as being the seat of the general government of a state or nation.
  • adjective colloq. Of first rate quality; excellent.
  • adjective (Print.) a leading or heading letter, used at the beginning of a sentence and as the first letter of certain words, distinguished, for the most part, both by different form and larger size, from the small (lower-case) letters, which form the greater part of common print or writing.
  • adjective have the form of capital letters and height of the body of the lower-case letters.
  • adjective money, property, or stock invested in any business, or the enterprise of any corporation or institution.
  • noun (Arch.) 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.
  • noun (Geog.) The seat of government; the chief city or town in a country; a metropolis.
  • noun 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.
  • noun (Polit. Econ.) That portion of the produce of industry, which may be directly employed either to support human beings or to assist in production.
  • noun Anything which can be used to increase one's power or influence.
  • noun (Fort.) An imaginary line dividing a bastion, ravelin, or other work, into two equal parts.
  • noun obsolete A chapter, or section, of a book.
  • noun (Print.) See Capital letter, under Capital, a.
  • noun See under Active
  • noun (Print.) a small capital letter; informally referred to (in the plural) as small caps; as, the technical terms are listed in small caps. See under Capital, a.
  • noun to consume one's capital without producing or accumulating anything to replace it.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun uncountable, economics Already-produced durable goods available for use as a factor of production, such as steam shovels (equipment) and office buildings (structures).
  • noun uncountable, business, finance Money and wealth. The means to acquire goods and services, especially in a non-barter system.
  • noun countable 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.
  • noun countable The most important city in the field specified.
  • noun countable An uppercase letter.
  • noun countable, architecture The uppermost part of a column.
  • noun uncountable Knowledge; awareness; proficiency.
  • adjective of prime importance
  • adjective UK excellent
  • adjective Involving punishment by death.
  • adjective uppercase

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

  • noun a book written by Karl Marx (1867) describing his economic theories
  • noun a seat of government
  • adjective of primary importance


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.


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  • The basis of society

    September 18, 2007

  • Also a useful synonym for excellent.

    August 20, 2008

  • In architecture, the head of a column.

    August 24, 2008

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

    November 3, 2010

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

    January 30, 2012

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

    January 21, 2013

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

    April 4, 2013