1 : to enclose in or as if in a capsule : to completely cover
2 : to show or express in a brief way : epitomize, summarize
3 : to become enclosed in a capsule
To avoid the risks that come with stripping asbestos insulation from pipes, it is sometimes best to encapsulate the pipes with paint or tape or another material in order to prevent breathing in the dangerous fibers.
"It's the economy, stupid. Those words, coined by James Carville as he was managing Bill Clinton's campaign for the presidency in 1992, encapsulate a basic axiom of practical politics, to wit: When the economy is hurting, it preoccupies voters, and politicians ignore it at their peril." -- From a column by Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee (California), September 2, 2011
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."
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