noun cap·i·tal \ˈka-pə-təl, ˈkap-təl\

Definition of CAPITAL

:  the uppermost member of a column or pilaster crowning the shaft and taking the weight of the entablature — see column illustration

Examples of CAPITAL

  1. The transition from Greece to Rome is marked, in a propylaeum space, by a huge Ionic column's base and capital, with a space between the broad part of the column below and the narrowing segment above. —Garry Wills, New York Review of Books, 31 May 2007

Origin of CAPITAL

Middle English capitale, from Anglo-French capital, capitel, from Late Latin capitellum small head, top of column, diminutive of Latin capit-, caput head — more at head
First Known Use: 13th century

Other Architecture Terms

buttress, casita, cornice, fanlight, garret, lintel, parapet, pilaster, plinth


adjective cap·i·tal \ˈka-pə-təl, ˈkap-təl\

of a letter : in the form A, B, C, etc., rather than a, b, c

: having the main offices of a government

of a crime : having death as a possible punishment

Full Definition of CAPITAL

of a letter :  of or conforming to the series A, B, C, etc. rather than a, b, c, etc.
a :  punishable by death <a capital crime>
b :  involving execution <capital punishment>
c :  most serious <a capital error>
a :  chief in importance or influence <capital ships> <the capital importance of criticism in the work of creation itself — T. S. Eliot>
b :  being the seat of government
:  of or relating to capital (see 3capital); especially :  relating to or being assets that add to the long-term net worth of a corporation <capital improvements>
:  excellent <a capital book>
with a capital
—used with a following capital letter to emphasize or qualify a preceding word <not an accident but murder with a capital M> <desired romance with a capital R>

Examples of CAPITAL

  1. His handwritten capital S's look a lot like lowercase s's.
  2. Homicide that occurs during the course of an attempted kidnapping is a capital crime in some states.
  3. In several district capital towns I visited, the most obvious result of increased local autonomy was a showy new government office complex … —Mel White, National Geographic, November 2008

Origin of CAPITAL

Middle English, from Latin capitalis, from capit-, caput (see 1capital)
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Alphabet Terms

cuneiform, linear, minuscule, pictograph, rune, symbology, wedge


noun cap·i·tal \ˈka-pə-təl, ˈkap-təl\

Definition of CAPITAL

a (1) :  a stock of accumulated goods especially at a specified time and in contrast to income received during a specified period; also :  the value of these accumulated goods (2) :  accumulated goods devoted to the production of other goods (3) :  accumulated possessions calculated to bring in income
b (1) :  net worth
(2) :  stock 7c(1)
c :  persons holding capital :  capitalists considered as a group
d :  advantage, gain <make capital of the situation>
e :  a store of useful assets or advantages <wasted their political capital on an unpopular cause> <wrote from the capital of his emotionally desolate boyhood — E. L. Doctorow>
a :  a letter that conforms to the series A, B, C, etc. rather than a, b, c, etc. :  a capital letter; especially :  an initial capital letter
b :  a letter belonging to a style of alphabet modeled on the style customarily used in inscriptions
a :  a city serving as a seat of government
b :  a city preeminent in some special activity <the fashion capital>

Examples of CAPITAL

  1. … he must have poured a lot of energy into observing the men and women around him, since they would provide the literary capital he would draw on for many years to come in three major books. —Edmund White, New York Review of Books, 12 Feb. 2009

Origin of CAPITAL

French or Italian; French, from Italian capitale, from capitale, adjective, chief, principal, from Latin capitalis (see 2capital)
First Known Use: circa 1639

Other Business Terms

amortize, caveat emptor, clearinghouse, divest, due diligence, emolument, green-collar, marque, overhead, perquisite


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