\ 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

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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

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Time Traveler for cap-a-pie

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

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Dictionary Entries Near cap-a-pie



capa prieto

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Cite this Entry

“Cap-a-pie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

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