from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A small soluble container, usually made of gelatin, that encloses a dose of an oral medicine or a vitamin.
  • noun Anatomy A fibrous, membranous, or fatty sheath that encloses an organ or part, such as the sac surrounding the kidney or the fibrous tissues that surround a joint.
  • noun Microbiology A polysaccharide outer shell enveloping certain bacteria.
  • noun A dry dehiscent fruit that develops from two or more united carpels.
  • noun The thin-walled, spore-containing structure of mosses and related plants.
  • noun A space capsule.
  • noun A brief summary; a condensation.
  • adjective Highly condensed; very brief.
  • adjective Very small; compact.
  • transitive verb To enclose in or furnish with a capsule.
  • transitive verb To condense or summarize.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To furnish (a bottle, medicinal powder, etc.) with a capsule.
  • noun A small casing, envelop, covering, etc., natural or artificial, usually thin or membranous; a cover or container of some small object or quantity of matter. Specifically.
  • noun In botany, a dehiscent pod or seed-vessel, either membranous or woody, composed of two or more carpels, which at maturity becomes dry and opens by regular valves corresponding in number to the carpels, or twice as numerous.
  • noun In chem.: A small saucer made of clay for roasting samples of ores, or for melting them.
  • noun A small shallow vessel made of Berlin ware, platinum, etc., for evaporations, solutions, and the like.
  • noun In anatomy and zoology, a membrane or ligament inclosing some part or organ as in a bag or sac; a saccular envelop or investment: as, the capsule of the crystalline lens of the eye; the capsule of a joint, as the hip.
  • noun In anatomy, some part or organ likened to a capsule: as, the adrenal capsules.
  • noun In Protozoa, the included perforated test of a radiolarian.
  • noun In entomology, a horny case inclosing the eggs of an insect, as those of the cockroach. Also called oötheca.
  • noun A cap of thin metal, such as tin-foil, put over the mouth of a corked bottle to preserve the cork from drying.
  • noun A small gelatinous case or envelop in which nauseous medicines are inclosed to be swallowed.
  • noun The shell of a metallic cartridge or of a fulminating tube.

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

  • noun (Bot.) a dry fruit or pod which is made up of several parts or carpels, and opens to discharge the seeds
  • noun A small saucer of clay for roasting or melting samples of ores, etc.; a scorifier.
  • noun a small, shallow, evaporating dish, usually of porcelain.
  • noun (Med.) A small cylindrical or spherical gelatinous envelope in which nauseous or acrid doses are inclosed to be swallowed.
  • noun (Anat.) A membranous sac containing fluid, or investing an organ or joint. Also, a capsulelike organ.
  • noun A metallic seal or cover for closing a bottle.
  • noun A small cup or shell, as of metal, for a percussion cap, cartridge, etc.
  • noun See under Atrabiliary.
  • noun a membranous envelope, entering the liver along with the portal vessels and insheathing the latter in their course through the organ.
  • noun a ductless gland secreting epinephrine, norepinephrine, and steroid hormones, on the upper end of each kidney. It is also called the adrenal gland, glandula suprarenalis, suprarenal gland, epinephros, atrabiliary capsule, and adrenal capsule.

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

  • noun physiology A membranous envelope.
  • noun botany A type of simple, dehiscent, dry fruit (seed-case) produced by many species of flowering plants, such as poppy, lily, orchid, willow and cotton.
  • noun botany A sporangium, especially in bryophytes.
  • noun A detachable part of rocket or spacecraft (usually in the nose) containing crew's living space.
  • noun pharmacy A small container containing a dose of medicine.
  • noun dialectal, UK A weasel.
  • noun attributively, figuratively in a brief, condensed or compact form

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

  • noun a shortened version of a written work
  • noun a spacecraft designed to transport people and support human life in outer space
  • noun a structure that encloses a body part
  • verb enclose in a capsule
  • verb put in a short or concise form; reduce in volume
  • noun a pill in the form of a small rounded gelatinous container with medicine inside
  • noun a dry dehiscent seed vessel or the spore-containing structure of e.g. mosses
  • noun a pilot's seat in an airplane that can be forcibly ejected in the case of an emergency; then the pilot descends by parachute


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

[French, from Latin capsula, diminutive of capsa, box.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From French capsule.


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  • The little picture of the capsule is actually 'in the background' and not threatened by the visually impressive falling debris.

    Ares 1 Abort Study Update - NASA Watch 2009

  • With respect Bernie, Constellation isn't a stunt, a capsule is the best vehicle for returning safely from the moon and mars especially with the Ballistic speeds involved.

    Where Next? - NASA Watch 2009

  • SCOTT SIMON, host: Now, different kind of time capsule - Chad Matheny, a Los Angeles-based musician who records under the name Emperor X, his capsule is a cassette of his music and he buries it in the ground, then tells his fans to find it.

    Digging For Tunes With Emperor X 2010

  • I believe a capsule is the most cost effect means of access to LEO.

    How Best to Access the ISS-and LEO? - NASA Watch 2009

  • SCOTT SIMON, host: Now, different kind of time capsule - Chad Matheny, a Los Angeles-based musician who records under the name Emperor X, his capsule is a cassette of his music and he buries it in the ground, then tells his fans to find it.

    Digging For Tunes With Emperor X 2010

  • A billion in a capsule is the minimum recommended.

    Plentiful Probiotics Steve Carper 2008

  • Here in a capsule is the dilemma that confronts all Canadian universities, but that looms up most insistently, I almost said, most menacingly, at the University of Toronto: how do we preserve the University as a place of learning, scholarship, and research when it must adapt itself, during the course of the next few years, to doubled enrolment.

    The University and the City 1958

  • Measurements of the thyroid are taken two to four hours after the capsule is given and again the following day.

    Thyroid Uptake and Scan 2010

  • The state could lose 1,000 jobs if the capsule is canceled.

    Obama tries to get support of space plan off ground 2010

  • "We always had hope that they would be alive and now to see the capsule is exciting," said Carolina Lobos, 26, daughter of Franklin Lobos, a former football star now trapped underground.

    Chilean miners start training for rescue Jonathan Franklin 2010


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  • Regarding the space program, this term is not preferred by those who fly, because it connotes passivity by the people who actually operate the craft.

    July 24, 2009