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 Members of the Chumash Indian tribe of Ventura County also opposed the capture on religious grounds. San Diego Union-Tribune, "From the Archives: Last California Condor in the wild was captured in 1987," 20 Apr. 2021 One person was killed and five others were wounded yesterday in a shooting at a cabinet-making business in Bryan, Texas, that resulted in a manhunt and eventual capture of a male suspect. San Antonio Express-News, "Express Briefing: Heart wrenching testimony in Sutherland Springs Trial," 9 Apr. 2021 In the brief period between Stalin’s annexation and the Nazis’ capture of eastern Poland in the summer of 1941, the Soviets engaged in brutal acts of repression, including the 1940 Katyn massacre of nearly 22,000 Polish citizens. Isis Davis-marks, Smithsonian Magazine, "Researchers Uncover Remains of Polish Nuns Murdered by Soviets During WWII," 9 Mar. 2021 Violence against religious minorities, including Yazidis and Iraqi Chaldeans, tantamount to genocide, followed the militants’ capture of Mosul. Washington Post, "The symbolic power of the papal visit to Iraq," 8 Mar. 2021 And today, hairstylist Jenna Perry won Instagram with a capture of Bella Hadid, whose medium-length brunette featured a burnished burgundy finish—just in time for Givenchy. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Gigi and Bella Hadid Prove That Red Is the Hair Shade of the Season," 8 Mar. 2021 The state has dedicated $15 million to creating the Wyoming Integrated Test Center to study the capture of carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants. New York Times, "Carbon County, Wyoming, Knows Which Way the Wind Is Blowing," 3 Mar. 2021 The malevolent head of the empire’s special forces is sent in to cull the threat by ordering the capture and public torture of dozens of these tribal people. Beth Marchant, Los Angeles Times, "Here are 4 key films — and 4 great moments within them — for this awards season," 2 Mar. 2021 This resulted in a $15 billion revenue increase in 2020 along with a market share capture of an additional $9 billion. Sanford Stein, Forbes, "Target Succeeds And Exceeds Expectations In 2020," 2 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb If the deal is approved, Florida would be able to capture some of the revenue generated through sports betting. Skyler Swisher,, "Ante up: Florida’s gambling deal opens the door for online poker and blackjack," 28 Apr. 2021 Hallmark's all-new movie trilogy, The Wedding Veil, will capture all three. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "Hallmark Announces 'The Wedding Veil' Movie Trilogy, Starring Lacey Chabert, Alison Sweeney and Autumn Reeser," 27 Apr. 2021 Despite their speed, maneuverability and nocturnal habits, Endicott has been able to capture some spectacular images using high-speed camera-triggering devices and electronic flash units. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Hearing these tiny critters’ sounds is batty," 17 Apr. 2021 These children may be having the hardest time academically, but a standardized test wouldn’t be able to capture that. Emily Donaldson, Dallas News, "With glitches and students opting out, how useful will STAAR be in identifying COVID-19 learning loss?," 12 Apr. 2021 In order to capture the mood and convey a sense of the occasion, the photographer took the image at dawn as their breath vaporized by the cold air. Cecilia Rodriguez, Forbes, "Amazing Birds In Photos: 21 Finalists For Bird Photographer Of The Year," 4 Apr. 2021 With the assistance of a citizen with a rope, Officers were able to safely capture the cow and get it back to it's owner. Rachel Trent, CNN, "A loose cow trotting along an Atlanta-area interstate ties up traffic for an hour," 4 Apr. 2021 The animal control officer was able to capture the raccoon and later had to dispose of it. Brian Lisik, cleveland, "Aggressive bandit turns out to be raccoon: Brunswick Police Blotter," 7 Mar. 2021 Has college basketball been able to capture any national attention during the regular season? Los Angeles Times, "‘These players are pros’: A pre-March Madness Q&A with ESPN’s Jay Bilas," 5 Mar. 2021

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

Time Traveler for capture

Time Traveler

The first known use of capture was circa 1542

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Statistics for capture

Last Updated

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Capture.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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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

Comments on capture

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