cap·ture | \ˈkap-chər, -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, 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, -shrə-bəl \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for capture

Synonyms: Noun

captive, internee, prisoner

Synonyms: Verb

bag, catch, collar, cop [slang], corral, get, glom, grab, grapple, hook, land, nab, nail, net, rap, seize, snag, snap (up), snare, snatch, trap

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


the capture of the city by enemy forces a Spanish treasure ship was the most valuable capture ever taken by that privateer


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

Webb said the capture so close to tourists demonstrated that the government protection program worked. Rod Mcguirk, Fox News, "Australian rangers trap big crocodile near tourist gorge," 10 July 2018 Makeup artist Patrick Ta shared a behind-the-scenes capture of the super's latest look, which took its cues from her vivid, bubble gum-colored evening dress. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Gigi Hadid Rules the Beach in the Riskiest Neon Makeup Shade Yet," 2 July 2018 Other famous cases include a 1997 removal of an alligator from a Naperville golf course and a 2010 capture of a wild turkey which was reportedly playing chicken with Lake Bluff motorists. Graydon Megan,, "Garon Fyffe, naturalist and animal expert, dies," 2 July 2018 The current crisis in drug prices and access—as well as a quieter but no less serious crisis in drug innovation—is the result of decades of regulatory dereliction and corporate capture. Alexander Zaitchik, The New Republic, "How Big Pharma Was Captured by the One Percent," 28 June 2018 Back in April, Lohan shared a screenshot of herself talking to Tiffany over FaceTime, according to a capture shared on social media. Dave Quinn,, "Lindsay Lohan Says Longtime Friend Tiffany Trump Is 'a Really Sweet Girl' and 'Nice Person'," 26 June 2018 Keep your eye on the bigger picture—the bigger picture is the global regulatory capture of the electric car moment by the status quo. Holman W. Jenkins, WSJ, "A Tesla Crackup Foretold," 22 June 2018 Hubbard looks excited when the python is caught and bagged -- the two high five after executing the capture. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Video shows man saving alligator as python nearly squeezes it to death," 19 June 2018 Back in November 2016, some on social media had concerns regarding whether the platform alerted users when someone took a capture of the images on someone's main feed. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Instagram Will No Longer Alert Users About Screenshots," 16 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Solar panels generate electricity when sunlight hits the materials in the panels, typically silicon, and activates electrons that are captured and converted to usable electric current. Paul Gores, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Solar panels help power new Ikea store in Oak Creek," 13 July 2018 With the oil and gas sector in an upturn, our goals are about capturing growth and being the number one provider for our customers and employer-of-choice for our employees. Ilene Bassler, Houston Chronicle, "Q&A: Strict immigration policies ripple through talent pool," 12 July 2018 New Jersey’s three sports-betting venues captured nearly $3.5 million in gross revenue in June, the first month of legal sports wagering, and returned $294,000 in taxes to the state, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement reported Thursday. Andrew Maykuth,, "N.J.'s sports betting generates $294K in taxes," 12 July 2018 The abruptness and mysteriousness of this strange new malady—which scientists came to call Colony Collapse Disorder—captured imaginations and made front-page news all over the world. Hannah Nordhaus, WSJ, "‘Buzz’ and ‘Our Native Bees’ Review: Give Bees a Chance," 12 July 2018 Its water system is able to capture rainwater and generate potable water from the humidity lingering in the air. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Tiny house from UN Environment and Yale raises the bar for eco-living," 11 July 2018 Hidden within the systems designed to capture your eyeballs and seize your attention, there is also a capacity to watch slowly and mindfully. Arielle Pardes, WIRED, "In the Age of Despair, Find Comfort on the ‘Slow Web’," 8 July 2018 Democrats there captured 15 GOP seats and came within one vote of controlling the assembly. Phil Galewitz And David Smiley, miamiherald, "In Florida, mid-term elections hold little hope for Medicaid expansion," 6 July 2018 The county’s updated request for proposal (RFP) is the latest development in a controversial and protracted effort to provide the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office with a system to capture and digitally manage evidence. Jasper Scherer, San Antonio Express-News, "Bexar County releases new body camera bid request with broader specs," 6 July 2018

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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Learn More about capture

Statistics for capture

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for capture

The first known use of capture was circa 1542

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More Definitions for capture



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 \
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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