cap·​tion | \ˈkap-shən \

Definition of caption 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the part of a legal document that shows where, when, and by what authority it was taken, found, or executed

2a : the heading especially of an article or document : title

b : the explanatory comment or designation accompanying a pictorial illustration read the caption for the names of the people in the picture

c : a movie or television show subtitle


captioned; captioning\-​sh(ə-​)niŋ \

Definition of caption (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to furnish with a caption Almost all live TV sports events are captioned for the hearing-impaired.

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Other Words from caption


captionless \-​ləs \ adjective

Synonyms for caption

Synonyms: Noun

head, header, heading, headline, rubric, title

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Examples of caption in a Sentence


The caption on the picture says “This year's contest winners.” for the school yearbook, funny captions were written for snapshots showing a typical day at school

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Wheeler Dealers host gushed about his girlfriend in the caption, which accompanied a sweet collage of photos of the pair. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Christina El Moussa's Boyfriend Ant Anstead Just Posted the Sweetest Tribute," 29 Oct. 2018 Musée du Louvre tweeted a picture of her wearing a France jersey under her robe, with a caption congratulating the players (hopefully DaVinci doesn't mind). Bridget Hallinan, Condé Nast Traveler, "How France is Celebrating Its World Cup Victory," 16 July 2018 Orange Coast College rowers: In the June 29 Sports section, a photo caption identified Daniel Amado, left, and Axel Witt as pulling in the same direction., "For the Record," 30 June 2018 Cheers to an epic summer, or at the very least, epic Instagram captions., "The Black Girl's Summer 2018 Playlist," 13 July 2018 The group of teens were selling water to support their local football team, according to the caption on the Facebook video. Lilly Price, USA TODAY, "Teen arrested for allegedly selling water outside Philadelphia Zoo," 9 July 2018 Though there are no photos of him, Foster has appeared in McPhee’s captions and videos. Libby Hill,, "Joe Jackson reportedly buried in Glendale cemetery where son Michael was interred," 3 July 2018 Simple minds like Hays’ and his colleagues need black-and-white pictures with captions in big letters to get it. Lauren Ritchie,, "Environment, voters score big win over contemptuous legislators," 29 June 2018 Fenugreek seed, as Mowry also mentioned in her Instagram caption, has been touted as a magical milk supply booster The seed is ground into capsules, powders, teas, and liquid extracts. Taylyn Washington-harmon, SELF, "Tia Mowry Says These Foods Help Keep Up Her Milk Supply," 22 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This 30-year-old photographer from Mobile, Alabama, decided to share an image of a woman crying in the shower on Instagram, captioning it with inspiring words that has hit such a chord, it's already racked up hundreds of thousands of views. Blake Bakkila,, "This Woman’s Powerful Message About Crying in the Shower Is Going Viral," 4 May 2018 Lopez captioned the jet-setting self-portrait, casually leaning onto a plush beige leather seat with a classic black Birkin dangling from her nude manicured hand. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Jennifer Lopez Pulls the Ultimate Beauty Power Move at the Airport," 7 Nov. 2018 But as Roman’s fans and followers tried the recipe, posting the baking process, finished cookies and even baking questions to their Instagram Stories, Roman smartly screen-grabbed, captioned and re-posted a handful at a time. Kurt Wagner, Recode, "‘Stories’ was Instagram’s smartest move yet," 8 Aug. 2018 The above and below galleries, which were taken at my own box-opening event at a Microsoft PR office in downtown Seattle, are captioned with explanations of what exactly is different about this box. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Forward-box: Xbox Adaptive Controller’s packaging is a good Microsoft move," 25 July 2018 And an even more confusing throwback pic of John Travolta ... captioned as Nicolas Cage. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "This Sparkly Nicolas Cage Pillow Will Haunt Your Dreams," 7 June 2018 Fisher captioned an image of his son sitting on his lap while watching Underwood perform on stage. Mitchell Peters, Billboard, "Carrie Underwood Shares Sweet Mother-Son Photo of Her Boy's First Concert," 30 June 2018 After extended exposure to the darkest of subreddits, Norman was trained to perform image captioning so that the AI could produce image descriptions in writing about the Rorschach inkblot images that would follow. Carson Kessler, Fortune, "MIT Scientists Create 'Psychopath' AI Named Norman," 7 June 2018 Court reporters are hired to document legal depositions and provide closed captioning services. Laura Crimaldi,, "Era comes to an end as state ends its use of court reporters," 27 June 2018

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


circa 1670, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1848, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for caption


probably short for certificate of caption (taking, seizure)


see caption entry 1

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Dictionary Entries near caption





caption code



Statistics for caption

Last Updated

27 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for caption

The first known use of caption was circa 1670

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More Definitions for caption



English Language Learners Definition of caption

: a sentence or group of words that is written on or next to a picture to explain what is being shown


cap·​tion | \ˈkap-shən \

Kids Definition of caption

: a comment or title that goes with a picture


cap·​tion | \ˈkap-shən \

Legal Definition of caption 

: the part of a legal document that states the court, the names of the parties, the docket number, the title of the document, and sometimes the name of the judge

History and Etymology for caption

Medieval Latin captio act of taking, from Latin capere to take

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More from Merriam-Webster on caption

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for caption

Spanish Central: Translation of caption

Nglish: Translation of caption for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of caption for Arabic Speakers

Comments on caption

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


to enclose within walls

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