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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Even better, everything in the capsule retails for under $50. Emily Ruane,, 6 May 2021 The astronauts in the Crew Dragon capsule are expected to dock at the space station Saturday at 5:10 a.m. Eastern time. Samantha Masunaga, Los Angeles Times, 23 Apr. 2021 Ryzhikov, Kud-Sverchkov and Rubins arrived on the space station in the Soyuz capsule after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in October. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 9 Apr. 2021 The 20 styles in the capsule explore the connection between the body, the environment, and a reconnection with nature. Rachel Besser, Vogue, 7 Apr. 2021 But the delivery of the vaccine in a capsule isn't the only thing differentiating this vaccine from others. CBS News, 7 Apr. 2021 In 1945, Nazi official Heinrich Himmler committed suicide by biting into a cyanide capsule while in British custody in Luneburg, Germany., 23 May 2021 The rocket was carrying Boeing’s Starliner crew capsule toward the International Space Station on an unpiloted test flight and was visible along the U.S. east coast. Richard Tribou,, 21 May 2021 The first Space Launch System will launch late this year on an unpiloted maiden flight, sending an Orion capsule on a long, looping trip around the moon. CBS News, 21 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective In time for summer holidays, accessories brand Métier is launching Vacanza, a capsule collection of travel-friendly pieces like a portable backgammon set (shown, $750), a roomy beach tote and a handwoven blanket. WSJ, 1 June 2021 From charm bracelets to necklaces, this capsule collection of accessories from Alex and Ani features some of the series’ most memorable quotes engraved on fun, costume jewelry. Brandt Ranj, Rolling Stone, 26 May 2021 As the brand celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2021, Williams informs me exclusively that HoS is finally launching its first capsule collection of menswear. Angela Lei, Forbes, 5 May 2021 Prounis launched a capsule collection of seven new upcycled iterations of their signature Roz rings, this time made with antique and post-consumer gemstones set in recycled 22-karat gold. Rachel Besser, Vogue, 21 Apr. 2021 The current partnership centres on a capsule collection co-designed by PANGAIA and creative director Jenke Ahmed Tailly using the AIR-INK® formulation for printing black lettering and graphics on recycled cotton hoodies, t-shirts and track pants. Brooke Roberts-islam, Forbes, 20 Apr. 2021 With that in mind, here is a capsule collection of clothes that work well both for WFH and for the office. Rachel King, Fortune, 10 Apr. 2021 Barbour has done it once again, the brand has joined forces with beloved ceramics artist, Emma Bridgewater for a capsule collection that sees the coming together of two iconic British names within the design realm. Felicity Carter, Forbes, 5 Apr. 2021 According to Sasha Skoda, head of women’s at The RealReal, customers are building a capsule wardrobe of foundational pieces and have responded well to women’s coats and knits priced around $500. Madeline Fass, Vogue, 5 Mar. 2021

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.

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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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Learn More About capsule

Time Traveler for capsule

Time Traveler

The first known use of capsule was circa 1693

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Statistics for capsule

Last Updated

12 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Capsule.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for capsule



English Language Learners Definition of capsule

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a very small container that is filled with medicine and swallowed whole
: a small glass or plastic container that has something (such as a liquid) inside of it
: a small part of a spacecraft that is separate from the rest of the spacecraft and that is where people live and work



English Language Learners Definition of capsule (Entry 2 of 2)

: very short


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)


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