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 capture (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 capture (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 For Davis, the two pillars that remain capable of resisting the authoritarian capture of Hong Kong are the judiciary and civil society. Mary Hui, Quartz, "Beijing is breaching Hong Kong’s final line of defense: its judiciary," 29 Dec. 2020 The laser focus on exports — with low taxes and shaky regulatory compliance — led to the capture of huge shares of global business: China now accounts for 40 percent of the world’s textile and apparel exports. Danielle Paquette, Washington Post, "The pandemic dealt a blow to global trade and revived an old dream: Self-reliance," 23 Dec. 2020 Social media posts, cameras, and whatever else could lead to the capture of these ruthless murderers. Stephanie Pagones, Fox News, "Texas teen brothers shot, killed by masked gunmen while sitting in parked car in driveway of home," 16 Dec. 2020 But, Al Jazeera reports, even the capture of Tigray may not end the conflict that broke out earlier this month after long simmering tensions. TheWeek, "Analysts warn Ethiopian conflict could become 'entrenched,' spill into neighboring countries," 24 Nov. 2020 Its biggest exploit came in August with the capture of the port of Mocimboa da Praia. Declan Walsh, New York Times, "With Village Beheadings, Islamic State Intensifies Attacks in Mozambique," 11 Nov. 2020 According to Blumenthal, the potential capture of the youth electorate appealed to both parties. Manisha Claire, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Young Activists Got 18-Year-Olds the Right to Vote in Record Time," 11 Nov. 2020 Television screens across continents were packed with images of jubilant Americans in New York, Washington and Los Angeles celebrating Biden’s capture of the required number of electoral votes to become the 46th president. Los Angeles Times, "The world reacts as Joe Biden becomes U.S. president-elect," 7 Nov. 2020 The capture in space and transmission to Earth of large amounts of energy could significantly reduce humanity's future reliance on fossil fuels. Jeremy Lott, Washington Examiner, "The future of space travel could include tourism and relocation," 29 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Sony has baked in the ability to capture screenshots and videos of gameplay as well as the option to broadcast. Simon Hill, Wired, "15 PlayStation 5 Tips, Tricks, and Hidden Features," 27 Dec. 2020 Foley even added a projector with a camera to capture all the cars driving by their home and the festivities of the street. Alison Medley, Chron, "'Spread a little joy': Pecan Grove family goes all out with 40-foot Christmas light display," 21 Dec. 2020 Nike is among several retailers that have benefited from earlier efforts to capture online sales. Khadeeja Safdar, WSJ, "Nike Powers Through Pandemic With Digital Push," 18 Dec. 2020 Were the party's failure to capture the Senate and disappointing House results simply products of running the wrong campaign? Jon Walker, TheWeek, "Will Georgia show Democrats ran the wrong campaign against Trump?," 14 Dec. 2020 If the most obvious feature of a dash cam is its ability to capture and store video and images, the next logical consideration is determining the quality of the images. Popsci Commerce Team, Popular Science, "Best dash cams: Car accessories to keep you safe on the road," 11 Dec. 2020 China has this year opened it financial market wider to foreign banks, offering them an opportunity to capture a share of profits that are estimated to swell to $47 billion in investment banking alone by 2026. Cathy Chan,, "Goldman Sachs to Apply for 100% Ownership of China Joint Venture," 8 Dec. 2020 Following the failure to capture any of the statewide constitutional offices in 2018, there was some call for his removal from the seat. cleveland, "Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper stepping down at the end of 2020," 1 Dec. 2020 Federal research into how to capture carbon at scale is a necessary complement to reducing the amount of work those processes will have to do. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "Carbon Capture Is Not a Climate Savior," 24 Dec. 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

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Capture.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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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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