Word of the Day : March 9, 2019


adverb kap-uh-PEE


: from head to foot

Did You Know?

Think of a medieval knight riding off to battle completely encased (from head to foot, as it were) in armor. Knights thus outfitted were said to be "armed cap-a-pie." The term cap-a-pie (or cap-à-pie), which has been used in English since at least the 16th century, descends from the Middle French phrase de cap a pé, meaning "from head to foot." Nowadays, it is generally extended to more figurative armor, as in "armed cap-a-pie against criticism." Cap-a-pie has also been credited with parenting another English phrase. Some people think the expression "apple-pie order," meaning "perfect order," may have originated as a corruption of "cap-a-pie order." The evidence for that theory is far from orderly, however, and it must be regarded as speculative.


The birthday girl—dressed cap-a-pie as a princess, from tiara to sequined slippers—waited excitedly for her guests to arrive.

"When they all appear at the elegant ball for the Prince of Wales, the men's outfits outshine the women's and the villain of the story, the French fanatic Chauvelin, cap-a-pie in ominous black, makes a striking contrast." — Marie D. Galyean, The Boise (Idaho) Weekly, 9 Aug. 2006

Test Your Vocabulary

What 4-letter word beginning with "h" is the name for a handle of a sword and is also used in a 3-word expression that means "completely" or "with nothing lacking"?



More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!