cap-a-pie

adverb
\ ˌka-pə-ˈpē How to pronounce cap-a-pie (audio) , -ˈpā \
variants: or cap-à-pie

Definition of cap-a-pie

: from head to foot armed cap-a-pie for battle

Did you know?

Think of a medieval knight riding off to battle completely encased (from head to foot, as it were) in armor. Knights thus outfitted were said to be "armed cap-a-pie." The term cap-a-pie (or cap-à-pie), which has been used in English since at least the 16th century, descends from the Middle French phrase de cap a pé, meaning "from head to foot." Nowadays, it is generally extended to more figurative armor, as in "armed cap-a-pie against criticism." Cap-a-pie has also been credited with parenting another English phrase. Some people think the expression "apple-pie order," meaning "perfect order," may have originated as a corruption of "cap-a-pie order." The evidence for that theory is far from orderly, however, and it must be regarded as speculative.

First Known Use of cap-a-pie

1523, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cap-a-pie

Middle French (de) cap a pé from head to foot

Learn More About cap-a-pie

Time Traveler for cap-a-pie

Time Traveler

The first known use of cap-a-pie was in 1523

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About cap-a-pie

Dictionary Entries Near cap-a-pie

capape

cap-a-pie

capa prieto

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for cap-a-pie

Cite this Entry

“Cap-a-pie.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cap-a-pie. Accessed 21 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Color

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!