capt·​cha | \ ˈkap-chə How to pronounce captcha (audio) \
variants: or CAPTCHA

Definition of captcha

: a test to prevent spamming software from accessing a website by requiring visitors to the site to solve a simple puzzle (typically by reading and transcribing a series of numbers or letters from a distorted image) in order to gain access The point of the CAPTCHA is that reading those swirly letters is something that computers aren't very good at. If you can read them, you're probably not a piece of software run by a spammer.— Lev Grossman

Examples of captcha in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Somehow, the most jarring thing about the 2020 AMG GLC 63 S Performance Coupe isn’t the fact that Mercedes-Benz gave that captcha-sounding name to a four-door SUV. Alex Davies, Wired, "With In-Car AR, Drivers Get a New View of the Road Ahead," 12 Feb. 2020 Use a captcha, a program that protects websites against bots. Melissa Simone, STAT, "Bots started sabotaging my online research. I fought back," 21 Nov. 2019 You will be prompted to enter a captcha in order for your vote to go through. Brenda Cain And Yadi Rodriguez -,, "Revealing the 50 finalists in Cleveland’s Cutest Puppy Contest (vote to determine winner until Sept. 5 at 8 p.m.)," 3 Sep. 2019 The first step is to fill out a registration form (that appears simple and has a pretty intense captcha verification), for individuals as well as companies. Itika Sharma Punit, Quartz India, "Want to fly your own drone like Zomato? These YouTubers explain why that won’t be easy," 12 June 2019 His bit on the insanity of captcha will be remembered forever. Tom Philip, GQ, "The Best New Movie on Netflix This Week Is... a Standup Special," 11 May 2018 From here, the final steps are clear: Enter your password and solve the security captcha, and your request to permanently delete your account is underway. Josie Colt, WIRED, "How to Make a Clean Break With the Clingiest Social Networks," 12 Mar. 2018 Sophisticated internet software known as bots race through ticket sellers’ online ordering forms and buy hundreds of tickets well before human eyes even reach a captcha. Rebecca Beitsch,, "Despite bans, 'Hamilton,' Springsteen tix still vacuumed up by bots," 2 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'captcha.' 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 captcha

2001, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for captcha

Completely Automatic Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart (with deliberate pun on capture entry 1)

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Time Traveler for captcha Time Traveler

The first known use of captcha was in 2001

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Statistics for captcha

Cite this Entry

“Captcha.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Mar. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on captcha

Nglish: Translation of captcha for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of captcha for Arabic Speakers

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