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

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.

See More

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)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about captcha

Dictionary Entries near captcha






caption code


Statistics for captcha

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for captcha

The first known use of captcha was in 2001

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on captcha

Nglish: Translation of captcha for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of captcha for Arabic Speakers

Comments on captcha

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


involving a confidence or trust

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Word Puzzles

  • alt 57589b2b4c6a3
  • Which answer pairs best with each of the following words? living, estate, club, music, road, mile
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!