cap·​tion | \ ˈkap-shən How to pronounce caption (audio) \

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\ ˈkap-​sh(ə-​)niŋ How to pronounce captioning (audio) \

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 \ ˈkap-​shən-​ləs How to pronounce captionless (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for caption

Synonyms: Noun

cutline, legend

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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

Remaining Time -0:00 1x Chapters descriptions off, selected captions and subtitles off, selected This is a modal window. Rachel E. Greenspan, Time, "Here's Everything New on Netflix in September 2019 (and What's Leaving)," 1 Sep. 2019 Since suspending the live stream, the district has recorded board meetings and posted the videos to its website and YouTube, where they can be viewed with closed captions. Daily Pilot, "Laguna Beach school board plans to resume streaming meetings using new accessibility technology, resources," 15 Aug. 2019 Several members of the royal family have taken to social media to share very public birthday wishes for the Duchess of Sussex, but the most special message of all was sneakily hidden in the caption for Sussex Royal's birthday post for Meghan. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Prince Harry Shares Personal Birthday Message for Meghan Markle on Instagram," 4 Aug. 2019 The live casting will be in English only for now without subtitles or captions, but Epic is pointing fans to for localized content. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Epic will let you watch the Fortnite World Cup live while playing the game," 23 July 2019 To the viewer’s shock, many of the rice grains turn completely translucent, and a caption tells you it’s because food companies add plastic to their rice. Hanna Kozlowska, Quartz, "The viral spread of a bogus video shows the insidiousness of misinformation," 6 June 2019 See below for the best cat Instagram captions to use when showing off your favorite feline! Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "36 Best Cat Instagram Captions for Every Photo of Your Feline Friend," 19 July 2019 Justin posted a long Instagram caption about Taylor and Scooter, and Demi posted on Instagram as well. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "This Might Be the Reason Why Ariana Grande Hasn’t Spoken Out About the Taylor Swift and Scooter Braun Drama," 1 July 2019 Chance shared the news of the record deal via social media on Wednesday (June 26) with an emotional Instagram caption detailing his difficult experience in the industry. Ellise Shafer, Billboard, "Greyson Chance Signs With Arista Records," 26 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Marino captioned the ‘gram, crediting celebrity makeup artist Melissa Murdick in the tags. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Selena Gomez Wore Her Hair in Thick, Beachy Waves," 15 Sep. 2019 The bar was loud, and the owners had enabled closed-captioning on the debate channel. Eren Orbey, The New Yorker, "Democratic Debate Night with Steve Bullock, the Last Governor in the Presidential Race," 13 Sep. 2019 If captioned correctly—and, more importantly, if posted to Twitter before the others—their individual tweet has a chance to go viral. Jonathan Jones,, "A Big Year for the Media Members Covering the Browns’ Big Year," 27 Aug. 2019 Music festivals such as Coachella need closed captioning for performances. Sam Tabachnik, The Denver Post, "Baby powder, computer fans and flying fingers: Welcome to the Olympics of court reporting," 15 Aug. 2019 Don captioned the video, which has since been viewed over 82,000 times on the platform. Fox News, "Another Texas Walmart prankster licks Blue Bell ice cream, but claims innocence," 22 Aug. 2019 This Monday, through 11 p.m. ET, the city was mentioned at least 74 times, according to TVEyes closed captioning data. Brian Stelter, CNN, "From Fox to the Sun, battle over Baltimore rages in the wake of Trump's tweets," 30 July 2019 Sponsored by Harley-Davidson of Baltimore, show times are 1 p.m. (captioned) and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $7 for adults and $6 for students and seniors. Judy Morley,, "Coming Attractions: Movies for ‘Film Lovers’ and the whole family on tap at Arts Center," 24 July 2019 The original plates are from online retailer Pourtions, run by couple Dan and Mary Cassidy, which offers dinnerware and glassware all labeled with captioned portions. The Washington Post,, "Macy’s pulls plates that say a meal is ‘skinny jeans’ or ‘mom jeans’ size," 22 July 2019

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

Noun and Verb

probably short for certificate of caption (taking, seizure)

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Learn More about caption

Dictionary Entries near caption





caption code



Statistics for caption

Last Updated

4 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 How to pronounce caption (audio) \

Kids Definition of caption

: a comment or title that goes with a picture


cap·​tion | \ ˈkap-shən How to pronounce caption (audio) \

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

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