noun (1)
ca·​po | \ ˈkā-(ˌ)pō How to pronounce capo (audio) \
plural capos

Definition of capo

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a movable bar attached to the fingerboard of a fretted instrument to uniformly raise the pitch of all the strings


noun (2)
ca·​po | \ ˈkä-(ˌ)pō How to pronounce capo (audio) , ˈka- How to pronounce capo (audio) \
plural capos

Definition of capo (Entry 2 of 2)

: the head of a branch of a crime syndicate

First Known Use of capo

Noun (1)

1926, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

circa 1952, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for capo

Noun (1)

short for capotasto, from Italian, literally, head of fingerboard

Noun (2)

Italian, head, chief, from Latin caput

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about capo

Statistics for capo

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for capo

The first known use of capo was in 1926

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on capo

Spanish Central: Translation of capo

Comments on capo

What made you want to look up capo? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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