cap·​sule | \ ˈkap-səl How to pronounce capsule (audio) , -(ˌ)sül also -ˌsyül \

Definition of capsule

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : a membrane or sac enclosing a body part (such as a knee joint or kidney)
b : either of two layers of white matter in the cerebrum
2 : a closed receptacle containing spores or seeds: such as
a : a dry dehiscent usually many-seeded fruit composed of two or more carpels
b : the spore case of a moss
3 : a shell usually of gelatin for packaging something (such as a drug or vitamins) also : a usually medicinal or nutritional preparation for oral use consisting of the shell and its contents
4 : an often polysaccharide envelope surrounding a microorganism
5 : an extremely brief condensation : outline, survey capsules of history given to students
6a : a compact often sealed and detachable container or compartment
b : a small pressurized compartment or vehicle (as for space flight)


capsuled; capsuling

Definition of capsule (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to equip with or enclose in a capsule
2 : to condense into or devise in a compact form capsuled the news



Definition of capsule (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : extremely brief a capsule biography
2 : small and very compact a capsule submarine

Examples of capsule in a Sentence

Noun took an antibiotic capsule three times a day for a week a capsule containing all sorts of items from our era that is to be opened 100 years from now Verb newscasts that capsule complex, important stories into one-minute bits for easy digestion by viewers Adjective capsule reviews of the latest offerings at the multiplex
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In May 2021, outfielder Corbin Carroll suffered tears in the labrum and posterior capsule of his right shoulder. Nick Piecoro, USA TODAY, 27 July 2022 In May 2021, outfielder Corbin Carroll suffered tears in the labrum and posterior capsule of his right shoulder. Nick Piecoro, The Arizona Republic, 26 July 2022 But there were serious moments, especially when a fan’s question prompted Shatner to reminisce about his flight to the edge of space on a capsule launched by rocket company Blue Origin last October. Diane Bellcolumnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 July 2022 An acid-resistant capsule encompasses the anti-hangover pill. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 20 July 2022 That’s how much a Soviet-era space capsule fetched in a 2011 auction, the record price paid at auction for space exploration memorabilia. Carlie Porterfield, Forbes, 18 July 2022 The bubbly was then fitted with an expedition cork and topped with a capsule marking the vintage, before being left to rest for another year. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 15 July 2022 In this scenario, the Sentinel missile is placed in a waterproof capsule that is anchored to the bottom of a deep lake. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 15 July 2022 Our nutrition pros point out the 2-in-1 nested capsule that optimizes delivery of 100% of the probiotic starting dose to your colon. Stefani Sassos, Ms, Rdn, Cso, Cdn, Nasm-cpt, Good Housekeeping, 13 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective At the recent Couture jewelry show in Las Vegas, Lauren Harwell Godfrey debuted Menagerie, a capsule collection of one-of-a-kind animal jewels inspired by her visit to the Beautiful Creatures exhibition. Victoria Gomelsky, Robb Report, 15 July 2022 In addition to her new role, Whack will debut a capsule collection of a fun assortment of custom Whack jewelry pieces. Essence, 14 July 2022 Most recently, though, Styles and Michele came together for a capsule collection with Gucci called HA HA HA that's inspired by the 1970s. Hedy Phillips,, 14 July 2022 This season, The Store also features a capsule collection by Ancient Greek Sandals; effortless basics by Parthenis; swimwear from Norma Kamali and Eres; kaftans by LemLem; and Castañer espadrilles. Bridget Arsenault, Forbes, 10 July 2022 The preppy clothing label has joined forces with the footwear stalwart for a capsule collection of sporty apparel, footwear and accessories. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 24 June 2022 Brooks Brothers is back with another capsule collection to show its support for the LGBTQ+ community. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 20 June 2022 Webster Cult cottagecore brand LoveShackFancy has teamed up with accessories designer Sophia Webster on a capsule shoe collection that screams spring (and summer). The Editors, Los Angeles Times, 12 May 2022 Across the street, Jon & Vinny’s, stocked with its own line of merch year-round, is collaborating with apparel brand Madhappy on a capsule collection for the restaurant’s fifth anniversary. Los Angeles Times, 22 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'capsule.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of capsule


circa 1693, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1859, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1938, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for capsule


French, from Latin capsula, diminutive of capsa box — more at case

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Time Traveler for capsule

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The first known use of capsule was circa 1693

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Statistics for capsule

Last Updated

30 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Capsule.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for capsule


cap·​sule | \ ˈkap-səl How to pronounce capsule (audio) \

Kids Definition of capsule

1 : a case enclosing the seeds or spores of a plant
2 : a small case of material that contains medicine to be swallowed
3 : a closed compartment for travel in space


cap·​sule | \ ˈkap-səl, -(ˌ)sül How to pronounce capsule (audio) \

Medical Definition of capsule

1a : a membrane or saclike structure enclosing a part or organ the capsule of the kidney
b : either of two layers or laminae of white matter in the cerebrum:
(1) : a layer that consists largely of fibers passing to and from the cerebral cortex and that lies internal to the lentiform nucleus

called also internal capsule

(2) : one that lies between the lentiform nucleus and the claustrum

called also external capsule

2 : a shell usually of gelatin for packaging something (as a drug or vitamins) also : a usually medicinal or nutritional preparation for oral use consisting of the shell and its contents
3 : a viscous or gelatinous often polysaccharide envelope surrounding certain microscopic organisms (as the pneumococcus)

More from Merriam-Webster on capsule

Nglish: Translation of capsule for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of capsule for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about capsule


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