cap

1 of 6

noun (1)

often attributive
1
a
: a head covering especially with a visor and no brim
b
: a distinctive head covering emblematic of a position or office: such as
(1)
: a cardinal's biretta
(2)
2
: a natural cover or top: such as
a
: an overlying rock layer that is usually hard to penetrate
b(1)
: pileus
(2)
c
: the top of a bird's head or a patch of distinctively colored feathers in this area
3
a
: something that serves as a cover or protection especially for a tip, knob, or end
a bottle cap
b
: a fitting for closing the end of a tube
c
British : cervical cap
d
: an artificial crown for a tooth
4
: an overlaying or covering structure
5
: a paper or metal container holding an explosive charge (as for a toy pistol)
6
: an upper limit (as on expenditures) : ceiling
a cap on military spending
7
: the symbol ∩ indicating the intersection of two sets compare cup sense 9
8
: a cluster of molecules or chemical groups bound to one end or a region of a cell, virus, or molecule

cap

2 of 6

verb

capped; capping

transitive verb

1
a
: to provide or protect with a cap
cap a bottle
b
: to give a cap to as a symbol of honor, rank, or achievement
2
: to form a cap over : crown
mountains capped with mist
3
a
: to follow with something more noticeable or more significant : outdo
b
: to bring to a climax or conclusion
cap off the show with a song
4
: to form a chemical cap on
5
: to prevent from growing or spreading : set an upper limit on
cap oil prices
6
: to supply (a tooth) with an artificial crown

intransitive verb

: to form or produce a chemical cap

cap

3 of 6

noun (2)

: a small amount of an illegal or legally regulated drug
especially : a small amount of a drug enclosed in a capsule
a cap of cocaine

cap

4 of 6

noun (3)

plural caps
1
2
: a capital letter
usually plural
a message written in caps
According to [linguist Deborah] Tannen, women's preference for expressive hashtags is "similar to their using exclamation points, caps, and repetition of letters to show emphasis, and to the fact that women's spoken intonation patterns tend to vary more than men's."Jessica Bennett
Good netiquette includes not using all caps [=exclusively capital letters] when typing, as it comes across as shouting.John DeGarmo

cap

5 of 6

abbreviation (1)

1
capacity
2
capital
3
capitalize; capitalized

CAP

6 of 6

abbreviation (2)

1
Civil Air Patrol
2
combat air patrol
Phrases
cap in hand
: in a respectful, humble, or sometimes fearful manner
went cap in hand to the governor to seek more funds for education

Examples of cap in a Sentence

Verb a pipe capped at one end Be sure to cap the pen when you are done using it. The report caps a ten-year study of lung cancer among nonsmokers. a concert capped by a fantastic fireworks display If the teams don't cap player salaries, the league won't survive. The law would cap legal immigration. The government wants to cap councils that spend too much. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The analysis by the CREA estimated the US was the biggest buyer of refined products from India made from Russian crude last year, worth $1.3 billion between early December 2022, when the price cap was introduced, and the end of 2023. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, 19 Feb. 2024 The non-exclusive tag is calculated by averaging the top five cap hits at each respective position from the previous five years and adjusting it for the upcoming year’s salary cap. Daniel Oyefusi, Miami Herald, 19 Feb. 2024 Congressional approval of a narrow NCAA antitrust exemption that would permit NCAA rules that cap aggregated (not individual) coaches’ salaries and compensation and set limits on the number of coaches and operational support staff by sport; and 3. Donna Lopiano, Forbes, 18 Feb. 2024 The proposal will also have to be negotiated with Congress, which could result in a lifting of the spending caps and a restoration of the government’s original order. Harrison Mantas, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 16 Feb. 2024 Under a settlement, Activision was barred from establishing any rule that would in any way restrict wages for players or penalize a team for going over the salary cap for players. Winston Cho, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Feb. 2024 Democrats used the debate Wednesday to remind the bill’s supporters which party was responsible for imposing the $10,000 cap. Kevin Freking, Fortune, 15 Feb. 2024 Marvin was last seen wearing his company uniform — a navy blue polo shirt with the company’s logo, a pair of khaki pants, a navy blue cap and some black boots — according to The AWARE Foundation. Abigail Adams, Peoplemag, 15 Feb. 2024 With limited cap space this offseason and a lack of promising options in free agency, Miami might have to look to the draft again to find an upgrade at the position. 2. Daniel Oyefusi, Miami Herald, 7 Feb. 2024
Verb
Bezos’ real estate moves capped a milestone year for the mogul. Anna Lazarus Caplan, Peoplemag, 20 Feb. 2024 This capped the business’s revenue and my personal freedom. Lien De Pau, Forbes, 19 Feb. 2024 Mariah Dillard capped off her perfect season with a win in the 120-pound finals, beating Aniz Ramirez of Georgetown. Cody Thorn, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 18 Feb. 2024 The crushing loss of two seats in once-reliable Conservative areas capped another dismal week for Mr. Sunak. Stephen Castle, New York Times, 16 Feb. 2024 To pay for President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax law, Republicans in Congress capped the SALT deduction at $10,000 for both single and joint filers. Jacob Bogage, Washington Post, 14 Feb. 2024 The then-new law required the Federal Reserve to cap interchange fees for purchases with debit cards. Richard Hunt, Fortune, 13 Feb. 2024 The announcement caps an extraordinary decades-long political saga that will see the return of one of Thailand’s most controversial political figures to everyday life. Helen Regan, CNN, 13 Feb. 2024 Travis Kelce capped off the Kansas City Chiefs’ third Super Bowl win, and second in a row, by kissing his girlfriend Taylor Swift on the field after the game. Caroline Brew, Variety, 12 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cap.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1) and Verb

Middle English cappe, from Old English cæppe, from Late Latin cappa head covering, cloak

Noun (2)

short for capsule

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun (2)

1942, in the meaning defined above

Noun (3)

1906, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of cap was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near cap

Cite this Entry

“Cap.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cap. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

cap

1 of 2 noun
1
: a head covering
especially : one that has a visor and no brim
2
: something that serves as a cover or protection for something
a bottle cap
3
: a natural cover or top: as
a
: the umbrella-shaped part that bears the spores of a mushroom
b
: the top of a bird's head
4
: a paper or metal container holding a small explosive charge (as for a toy pistol)

cap

2 of 2 verb
capped; capping
1
: to cover or provide with a cap
2
: to follow with something : outdo
3
: to bring to a conclusion
capped off the show with a song
4
: to prevent from growing or spreading : set a limit on
capped oil prices
Etymology

Noun

Middle English cappe "cap," from Old English cæppe "cap," from Latin cappa "head covering, cloak" — related to cape entry 2, chapel

Medical Definition

cap

1 of 3 noun
often attributive
1
: a natural cover or top: as
a
: pileus
2
: something that serves as a cover or protection especially for a tip, knob, or end (as of a tooth)
3
British : cervical cap
4
: a cluster of molecules or chemical groups bound to one end or a region of a cell, virus, or molecule
the cell surface receptors were redistributed into caps

cap

2 of 3 verb
capped; capping

transitive verb

1
: to invest (a student nurse) with a cap as an indication of completion of a probationary period of study
2
: to cover (a diseased or exposed part of a tooth) with a protective substance
3
: to form a chemical cap on
the capped end of a messenger RNA

intransitive verb

: to form or produce a chemical cap

cap

3 of 3 abbreviation
1
capacity
2
capsule

Legal Definition

cap

noun
: an upper limit
a jury found that KAL had committed “willful misconduct,” thus removing the Warsaw Convention's $75,000 cap on damagesDooley v. Korean Air Lines, 524 U.S. 116 (1998)
cap verb

More from Merriam-Webster on cap

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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