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

captive, internee, prisoner

Synonyms: Verb

acquire, attain, bag, bring in, carry, come by, draw, earn, gain, garner, get, knock down, land, make, obtain, procure, pull down, realize, reap, secure, win

Antonyms: Noun


Antonyms: Verb

forfeit, lose

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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

While John McCain had a surplus of 4,932,922 votes in red states, all of the smallest deficits involve a capture of six blue states. Time, "The High-Risk Strategy That Could Hand Democrats the White House," 17 Sep. 2019 The fact that big traffickers are either never caught or escape from prison soon after capture adds to suspicions about the militias’ role. New York Times, "Iraq Faces a New Adversary: Crystal Meth," 14 Sep. 2019 Skip to main content Conservative Republican Dan Bishop won a special election Tuesday for an open House seat in North Carolina, averting a demoralizing Democratic capture of a district the GOP has held for nearly six decades. Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY, "Trump-backed Republican Dan Bishop narrowly wins in North Carolina special election," 11 Sep. 2019 Conservative Republican Dan Bishop won a special election Tuesday for an open House seat in North Carolina, averting a Democratic capture of a GOP-leaning district. Alan Fram,, "Republican Dan Bishop narrowly wins special election for North Carolina congressional seat that was subject of allegations of ballot tampering last year," 10 Sep. 2019 Nobody knows that better, in fact, than the Beavers’ Fiesta Bowl quarterback who came back as coach and is now trying to re-capture that college adrenaline rush. oregonlive, "Canzano: Oregon State football blowout victory was a $600,000 bargain," 14 Sep. 2019 Jerusalem Day commemorates Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem during the Six Day War of 1967. Michael Kimmelman, New York Times, "Cable Cars Over Jerusalem? Some See ‘Disneyfication’ of Holy City," 13 Sep. 2019 Orange County Animal Services fed and cared for Eno for weeks and consulted with outside experts to come up with a capture plan. Alisha Ebrahimji, CNN, "An emu that evaded authorities for months in North Carolina died during a capture attempt," 12 Sep. 2019 Both agencies plan to hold a joint news conference in Phoenix at 11 a.m. Thursday to provide further details about the couple’s capture, Tucson's KOLD-TV reported. Fox News, "Husband-wife Arizona murder suspects nabbed after three-week manhunt; had 'overpowered' guards in Utah: report," 12 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Robbery is up almost 54% in downtown Minneapolis compared with last year, and there has been a string of brutal assaults in the area, several of them captured on video. Doug Criss, CNN, "5 things to know for September 17: xxxxxxxx," 17 Sep. 2019 Kearns: There have been many deaths captured live on social media platforms — suicides, murders, police shootings and stupid stunts performed by attention-seeking amateurs. Chris Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "A Hollywood Publicist's Surprising Side Hustle: A Book About Shocking Onstage Deaths," 15 Sep. 2019 Stormi’s latest appearance on Kylie’s Instagram is just one of dozens of moments that the 22-year-old has captured on social media. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Kylie Jenner Shares Instagram Video of Stormi Webster Saying "Love You"," 15 Sep. 2019 The assault was witnessed, as well as being captured on a video. Carol Robinson |, al, "Deadly punch at Tuscaloosa bar lands 23-year-old in jail on manslaughter charge," 13 Sep. 2019 Reports suggest that Yang, who has been captured on video crowd-surfing in recent days, is promising to do something Thursday night that’s never been done by a presidential candidate before., "Seven big questions heading into the third Democratic debate, to be carried on ABC:," 13 Sep. 2019 Police could use the technology like a red-flag system, to alert officers if an image captured on a body camera matches that of a suspect or someone in an arrest database. Dustin Gardiner,, "California lawmakers OK 3-year ban on facial recognition in police body cameras," 12 Sep. 2019 During the chaotic scene, captured on video viewed millions of times, the counterprotesters wrested a hammer away from someone inside the bus who appeared to swing it at them from the open door. oregonlive, "Key protest witness nowhere near bus during Portland hammer attack, lawyer says," 12 Sep. 2019 From making your own Christmas cards and decorating holiday cookies to wearing matching pajamas and trimming the Christmas tree with your family, there are so many moments to capture on camera. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "88 Best Christmas Instagram Captions for Every Holiday Picture You Post This December," 11 Sep. 2019

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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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 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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