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

Chance had eluded capture for a week, thrusting the search for the elusive reptile into the national spotlight and turning his trapper into an instant celebrity. Dahleen Glanton,, "Column: Where’s the Jussie Smollett-type outrage over the lying alligator catcher who filed a false police report and got to walk free?," 31 July 2019 An alligator that eluded capture for days in a Chicago lagoon is settling in its new home. USA TODAY, "Titanic auction, Legos, mighty Mississippi: News from around our 50 states," 22 July 2019 As officers arrived, a vehicle was seen fleeing the scene and was able to elude capture during a pursuit. Bay City News, The Mercury News, "San Francisco homicide: Man shot in Mission," 8 July 2019 Police believe the same 27-year-old man who shot at police in Erlanger June 6 drove onto a sidewalk Saturday afternoon on Covington's Madison Avenue to elude capture. Chris Mayhew,, "Police 'hot on the trail' of man who shot at two NKY officers June 6," 6 June 2019 The company has sold its Powerwall home batteries for roughly four years, which capture and store energy generated by solar panels. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Tesla’s Megapack battery is big enough to help grids handle peak demand," 29 July 2019 Juventus' capture of midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot, who both play in central midfield, has only strengthened the links between Khedira and Arsenal but Emery claims the World Cup winner is not on his radar., "Sami Khedira: Unai Emery Dismisses Rumours That Juventus Veteran Is an Arsenal Target," 29 July 2019 More than 80% of global energy still comes from fossil fuels (and carbon capture buries only about 1% of those fossil-fuel emissions). Akshat Rathi, Quartz, "Extreme temperatures fuel a dangerous climate feedback loop," 26 July 2019 The alligator’s capture comes days after a Long Island family spotted a baby alligator in their backyard pool. USA TODAY, "Big butter sculpture, sweet guitar, owl released: News from around our 50 states," 24 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Nitros track and field athletes also captured individual Pacific League titles to add to the girls’ lacrosse team’s success in the spring. Vincent Nguyen, Glendale News-Press, "Looking Back: Girls’ lacrosse success highlights eventful year for Glendale," 14 Aug. 2019 In addition to her state success, Flowers captured a pair of Pacific League championships. Burbank Leader, "Girls’ Athlete of the Year: State success in track highlights accomplishments for Burbank’s Flowers," 13 Aug. 2019 Surveillance video captured the confrontation in the store, according to court documents. Andrew Clark, Indianapolis Star, "18-year-old says he shot teen at Lawrence Penn Station in self-defense, court documents say," 12 Aug. 2019 Drifting too close to the supermassive black hole, the companion star was stripped away and captured, unleashing the other star to fly away with astonishing swiftness. Nola Taylor Redd, Scientific American, "Midsize Black Holes May Explain the Milky Way’s Speediest Stars," 7 Aug. 2019 Along with Scott and baby Stormi Webster, paparazzi captured Jenner’s friends and family, including Kris Jenner, Scott Disick, and Sofia Richie, boarding the plane. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, "Wedding Rumors Fly After Kylie Jenner Is Photographed with This Dress," 7 Aug. 2019 With the help of thousands of supporters, Pugachev captured a large amount of Russian territory, but Catherine, recognizing the seriousness of the rebellion, sent the army to defeat him. National Geographic, "This 'pretender princess' tried to steal Catherine the Great's throne," 6 Aug. 2019 Each measure captures a different aspect of how the information in the input string determines the output bit. Wired, "A Decades-Old Computer Science Puzzle Was Solved in Two Pages," 4 Aug. 2019 The comedy captures the dating life of a 28-year-old Upper East Side woman named Pippy. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "10 Amazing Web Series You'll Want to Ditch Netflix For," 1 Aug. 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

Comments on capture

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of or relating to the heavens

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