cap·​ture | \ ˈkap-chər How to pronounce capture (audio) , -shər \

Definition of capture

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of capturing: such as
a : an act of catching, winning, or gaining control by force, stratagem, or guile the capture of the city by enemy forces
b : a move in a board game (such as chess or checkers) that gains an opponent's piece
c : the absorption by an atom, nucleus, or particle of a subatomic particle that often results in subsequent emission of radiation or in fission
d : the act of recording in a permanent file data capture motion capture
2 : one that has been taken (such as a prize ship)


captured; capturing\ ˈkap-​chə-​riŋ How to pronounce capturing (audio) , ˈkap-​shriŋ \

Definition of capture (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to take captive also : to gain control of especially by force capture a city
b : to gain or win especially through effort captured 60 percent of the vote
2a : to emphasize, represent, or preserve (something, such as a scene, mood, or quality) in a more or less permanent form … at any such moment as a photograph might capture— C. E. Montague
b : to record in a permanent file (as in a computer) The system is used to capture data relating to the buying habits of young people.
3 : to captivate and hold the interest of The performer captured our attention.
4 : to take according to the rules of a game A knight captured his pawn.
5 : to bring about the capture of (a subatomic particle)
6 astronomy : to draw into the gravitational influence of a larger body Asteroids were thought to be too small to capture a moon, but the moon might be a fragment that broke off.— Kenneth Chang

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Other Words from capture


capturable \ ˈkap-​chə-​rə-​bəl How to pronounce capturable (audio) , -​shrə-​bəl \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for capture

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for capture


catch, capture, trap, snare, entrap, ensnare, bag mean to come to possess or control by or as if by seizing. catch implies the seizing of something in motion or in flight or in hiding. caught the dog as it ran by capture suggests taking by overcoming resistance or difficulty. capture an enemy stronghold trap, snare, entrap, ensnare imply seizing by some device that holds the one caught at the mercy of the captor. trap and snare apply more commonly to physical seizing. trap animals snared butterflies with a net entrap and ensnare more often are figurative. entrapped the witness with a trick question a sting operation that ensnared burglars bag implies shooting down a fleeing or distant prey. bagged a brace of pheasants

Examples of capture in a Sentence

Noun the capture of the city by enemy forces a Spanish treasure ship was the most valuable capture ever taken by that privateer Verb They were captured by enemy soldiers. using traps to capture mice The city was captured by the Romans. She captured 60 percent of the vote in the last election. The company plans on capturing a larger segment of the market. The show has captured the attention of teenagers.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But Gould sees no path to get off natural gas without technological advancements, so Exelon is investing in ways to make gas cleaner, such as partnering in a first-of-its-kind carbon capture gas plant and researching blending hydrogen with gas. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy: Why the largest producer of zero-carbon electricity hasn’t set a 2050 goal," 8 July 2020 Of that, wild capture fisheries are projected to decrease by 2 percent (nearly 4.2 billion pounds), while aquaculture production is expected to decrease by 1.4 percent (2.6 million pounds). Anchorage Daily News, "Pandemic’s effect on global seafood industry demand and pricing will be long-lasting, report says," 7 July 2020 Virginia Tech researchers used motion-capture cameras to find out why. Phil Luciano, USA TODAY, "Bruno's search for a mate takes a detour. The black bear was tranquilized, moved to safe location after he 'cornered himself' in Missouri.," 7 July 2020 This article includes images of the PC version supplied by publisher 505 Games and Nvidia, along with a single capture from the game's original version running on a PlayStation 4 Pro. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Why this month’s PC port of Death Stranding is the definitive version," 1 July 2020 The foldable system comes with a kickstand that props the panels up for optimal sunlight capture. Popular Science, "Small solar panels to power your next adventure," 19 June 2020 Since Lehder’s capture, thousands of Colombian drug traffickers have since gone to U.S. prisons, many of them serving far less time than Lehder. Fox News, "Pablo Escobar’s cartel partner and infamous ‘cocaine cowboy’ released from US prison, deported to Germany," 18 June 2020 The dedication and perseverance of our Deputy U.S. Marshals made this capture possible. Howard Koplowitz |, al, "Mobile fugitive in drug trafficking case captured after 13 years on the lam," 4 June 2020 That could mean converting the biomass into renewable biofuels or burning it using carbon capture and storage. Jane Braxton Little, Wired, "The Debate Over Burning Dead Trees to Create Biomass Energy," 27 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb AppHarvest isn't the only company diving into greenhouses, and trying to capture to the Eastern Seaboard. Grace Schneider, The Courier-Journal, "Appalachian firm teams with Dutch government to grow 'ag-tech' epicenter in Kentucky," 24 June 2020 Mallos and his colleagues found that a device called a Lint LUV-R filter hooked up to a machine can capture an average of 87 percent of microfibers in a wash. Matt Simon, Wired, "Who's to Blame for Plastic Microfiber Pollution?," 22 June 2020 Echoes of Tulsa can be seen today in cellphone videos that capture the murder of Black men and women at the hands of law enforcement and citizens who’ve learned accountability is conditional depending on the color of one’s skin. Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: Donald Trump says he made Juneteenth famous. No, Black TV creators did," 19 June 2020 But owners Kyu Utsunomiya and Troy Watkins, along with chef Gustavo Muñoz, are banking on a vision of portable dining that can capture the quality and refinement of high-end fare and stand on its own until brighter times return. Dominic Armato, azcentral, "Sushi and sashimi for takeout? Here's how a new downtown Phoenix restaurant does it right," 17 June 2020 Solar Orbiter is equipped with 10 instruments that can capture observations of the sun's corona (which is its atmosphere), the poles and the solar disk, or circular visible surface of the sun. Amy Woodyatt, CNN, "Solar Orbiter makes its first close pass of the sun," 15 June 2020 This piece will capture the joy in the journey to becoming a grandfather. Christina Vercelletto, CNN Underscored, "Gifts for Grandpa that will make him smile on Father’s Day," 13 June 2020 New apps and gadgets might be endlessly fascinating and can capture your imagination. oregonlive, "Horoscope for June 9, 2020: Leo, do something useful with free time; Pisces, don’t give up," 9 June 2020 The team used vibrant, contemporary graphics and incorporated super bright, contrasting colors that would not only scream off of the shelf, but would capture the happy, fun, playful personality core to the brand. Rachel King, Fortune, "The soda market is popping with new contenders. Will they stay or fizzle out?," 5 June 2020

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


circa 1542, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1574, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for capture


Middle French, from Latin captura, from captus — see captive entry 1

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Time Traveler for capture

Time Traveler

The first known use of capture was circa 1542

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Statistics for capture

Last Updated

12 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Capture.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for capture


How to pronounce capture (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of capture

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the act of taking and holding someone as a prisoner or of being taken as a prisoner
: the act of getting control of something
: the act of putting information in a form that a computer can use or read



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

: to take and hold (someone) as a prisoner especially by using force
: to catch (an animal)
: to get control of (a place) especially by using force


cap·​ture | \ ˈkap-chər How to pronounce capture (audio) \
captured; capturing

Kids Definition of capture

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to take and hold especially by force The eagle captured its prey.
2 : to win or get through effort The candidate captured more than half the vote.
3 : to get and hold The seaweed strewn about … had captured her attention.— Kevin Henkes, Olive's Ocean
4 : to put into a lasting form She captured the scene in a photo.



Kids Definition of capture (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act of taking and holding especially by force

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More from Merriam-Webster on capture

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for capture

Spanish Central: Translation of capture

Nglish: Translation of capture for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of capture for Arabic Speakers

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