en·​cap·​su·​late | \ in-ˈkap-sə-ˌlāt How to pronounce encapsulate (audio) , en- \
encapsulated; encapsulating

Definition of encapsulate

transitive verb

1 : to enclose in or as if in a capsule a pilot encapsulated in the cockpit
2 : epitomize, summarize encapsulate an era in an aphorism

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Other Words from encapsulate

encapsulation \ in-​ˌkap-​sə-​ˈlā-​shən How to pronounce encapsulation (audio) , en-​ \ noun

Did You Know?

Encapsulate and its related noun, "capsule," derive from "capsula," a diminutive form of the Latin noun capsa, meaning "box." "Capsa" also gave us our noun "case" (the container kind; the legal sense has a different origin). The original sense of encapsulate, meaning "to enclose something in a capsule," first appeared in the late 19th century. Its extended meaning, "to give a summary or synopsis of something," plays on the notion of a capsule as something compact, self-contained, and often easily digestible (as in a capsule of medicine). There is also a verb "capsule," which is more or less synonymous with "encapsulate."

Examples of encapsulate in a Sentence

The contaminated material should be encapsulated and removed. can you encapsulate the president's speech in about a paragraph?
Recent Examples on the Web Overall, the album encapsulates the fine points of mortal consciousness — every song offering specific instances of memory and contemplation, the most profound human faculties. Armond White, National Review, "Morrissey’s Prophetic Journal of the Plague Year," 29 Apr. 2020 This anecdote encapsulates all that’s sweet about the new movie Beastie Boys Story. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "The Beastie Boys Keep It On and On," 24 Apr. 2020 The ensuing drama encapsulates both the cabin fever and paranoia that can come from living in lockdown. David Sims, The Atlantic, "22 Movies About the End of the World to Watch Now," 18 Apr. 2020 In short, the folklore of census enumerators often encapsulates the occupational skills, beliefs and values of this particular occupational group. James Deutsch, Smithsonian Magazine, "Here’s Why Taking America’s Roll Call Is a Hard-Knock Job," 15 Apr. 2020 Early on, well before all hell breaks loose, there’s a seemingly throwaway moment that encapsulates nearly everything this movie is about: the insatiability of the human appetite and the pleasure of breaking the rules. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Hugh Jackman is at his best in the engrossing school-scam drama ‘Bad Education’," 23 Apr. 2020 The quote neatly encapsulates the administration’s strategy so far: erring on the side of doing too little rather than too much, and, when questioned about this approach, exaggerating the uncertainty about how to stop the spread of the virus. Andre Pagliarini, The New Republic, "Could the Coronavirus End Jair Bolsonaro’s Presidency?," 6 Apr. 2020 In many ways, this encapsulates what’s so hard about our seniors leaving home. Jennifer Folsom, NBC News, "Coronavirus is canceling senior year across America: 5 ways to help your child cope," 2 Apr. 2020 Closely but not intrusively observed, like the film as a whole, the incident encapsulates the larger story with eerie perfection and a shiver of the unknown. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Finding Yingying': Film Review | SXSW 2020," 27 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'encapsulate.' 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 encapsulate

1872, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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The first known use of encapsulate was in 1872

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Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Encapsulate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/encapsulate. Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for encapsulate


How to pronounce encapsulate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of encapsulate

: to show or express the main idea or quality of (something) in a brief way
: to completely cover (something) especially so that it will not touch anything else


en·​cap·​su·​late | \ in-ˈkap-sə-ˌlāt How to pronounce encapsulate (audio) \
encapsulated; encapsulating

Medical Definition of encapsulate

transitive verb

: to surround, encase, or protect in or as if in a capsule DNA has been encapsulated in microspheres— Paul Smaglik

intransitive verb

: to become encapsulated a bacillus that encapsulates in the human body

Other Words from encapsulate

encapsulation \ -​ˌkap-​sə-​ˈlā-​shən How to pronounce encapsulation (audio) \ noun

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