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

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.

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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  • 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