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capital definition

Overview

This page has 35 definitions of capital with English translations in 8 languages. Capital is a noun and adjective. Examples of how to use capital in a sentence are shown. Also define these 38 related words and terms: economics, factor of production, business, finance, insurance, money, wealth, goods, services, barter, city, designate, government, authority, locate, important, country, subdivision, field, uppercase, letter, architecture, column, knowledge, awareness, proficiency, prime, importance, punishment, death, lower-case, head, capital, capital city, law, anatomy, pena, and death penalty.

See also: capitâl

English capital definition

A Doric capital
An Ionic capital
A Corinthian capital
A Composite capital

Alternative forms

Etymology

From Middle English capital, borrowed from Latin capitālis (of the head) (in sense “head of cattle”), from caput (head) (English cap). Use in trade and finance originated in Medieval economies when a common but expensive transaction involved trading heads of cattle.

Compare chattel and kith and kine (all one’s possessions), which also use “cow” to mean “property”.

This etymology is incomplete. You can help Wiktionary by elaborating on the origins of this term.

Pronunciation

Noun

capital (countable and uncountable, plural capitals)

  1. (uncountable, economics) Already-produced durable goods available for use as a factor of production, such as steam shovels (equipment) and office buildings (structures).
  2. (uncountable, business, finance, insurance) Money and wealth. The means to acquire goods and services, especially in a non-barter system.
    He does not have enough capital to start a business.
    • Wealth definition
      Riches; a great amount of valuable assets or material possessions. (1 of 3 wealth definitions)
  3. (countable) A city designated as a legislative seat by the government or some other authority, often the city in which the government is located; otherwise the most important city within a country or a subdivision of it.
    • 2013 June 8, “The new masters and commanders”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8839, page 52:
      From the ground, Colombo’s port does not look like much. []   But viewed from high up in one of the growing number of skyscrapers in Sri Lanka’s capital, it is clear that something extraordinary is happening: China is creating a shipping hub just 200 miles from India’s southern tip.
    Washington D.C. is the capital of the United States of America.
    The Welsh government claims that Cardiff is Europe’s youngest capital.
    • Locate definition
      To place; to set in a particular spot or position. (1 of 4 locate definitions)
  4. (countable) The most important city in the field specified.
    • 2010 September, Charlie Brennan, "Active Athletes", St. Louis magazine, ISSN 1090-5723, volume 16, issue 9, page 83:
      Hollywood is the film capital, New York the theater capital, Las Vegas the gambling capital.
  5. (countable) An uppercase letter.
  6. (countable, architecture) The uppermost part of a column.
  7. (uncountable) Knowledge; awareness; proficiency.
    Interpreters need a good amount of cultural capital in order to function efficiently in the profession.
    • Knowledge definition
      The fact of knowing about something; general understanding or familiarity with a subject, place, situation etc. (1 of 12 knowledge definitions)
  8. (countable, by extension) The chief or most important thing.

Usage notes

The homophone capitol refers only to a building, usually one that houses the legislative branch of a government, and often one located in a capital city.

Synonyms

Antonyms

Translations

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Adjective

capital (not comparable)

  1. Of prime importance.
    • 1708, Francis Atterbury, Fourteen Sermons Preach'd on Several Occasions : Preface
      a capital article in religion
    • 1852, Isaac Taylor, Saturday Evening:
      whatever is capital and essential in Christianity
  2. Chief, in a political sense, as being the seat of the general government of a state or nation.
    London and Paris are capital cities.
  3. (comparable, Britain, dated) Excellent.
    That is a capital idea!
  4. Involving punishment by death.
    • 1709, [Jonathan Swift], A Project for the Advancement of Religion, and the Reformation of Manners. [], London: [] Benj[amin] Tooke, [], OCLC 220146796, pages 53–54:
      Neither could the Legiſlature in any thing more conſult the Publick Good, than by providing ſome effectual Remedy againſt this Evil, which in ſeveral Caſes deſerves greater Puniſhment than many Crimes that are capital among us.
    • 1649, [John] Milton, [Eikonoklastes]  [], London: Printed by Matthew Simmons,  [], OCLC 1044608640:
      to put to death a capital offender
    • 2002, Colin Jones, The Great Nation, Penguin 2003, p. 517:
      Some 1,600 priests were deported, for example, while the total number of capital victims of the military commissions down to 1799 was only around 150.
  5. Uppercase.
    Antonym: lower-case
    One begins a sentence with a capital letter.
    • Lower-Case definition
      Alternative spelling of lowercase
  6. Of or relating to the head.

Translations

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Dictionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Derived terms

Terms derived from the noun or adjective capital

Related terms

References

Anagrams


Asturian capital definition

Etymology

Borrowed from Latin capitālis.

Adjective

capital (epicene, plural capitales)

  1. capital

Noun

capital f (plural capitales)

  1. capital city (city designated as seat of government)

capital m (plural capitales)

  1. capital (money)

Catalan capital definition

Etymology

Borrowed from Latin capitālis.

Pronunciation

Adjective

capital (feminine capitala, masculine plural capitals, feminine plural capitales)

  1. capital

Derived terms

Noun

capital f (plural capitals)

  1. capital (city)

Noun

capital m (plural capitals)

  1. capital (finance)

Derived terms

Further reading


French capital definition

Etymology

Borrowed from Latin capitālis. Doublet of cheptel.

Pronunciation

Noun

capital m (plural capitaux)

  1. capital (money and wealth)

Adjective

capital (feminine singular capitale, masculine plural capitaux, feminine plural capitales)

  1. capital (important)
    La peine capitale est abolie en France depuis les années 1980.

Derived terms

  • peine capitale

Related terms

Further reading

Anagrams


Portuguese capital definition

Etymology

Borrowed from Latin capitālis. Doublet of cabedal and caudal.

Pronunciation

Noun

capital f (plural capitais)

  1. (geopolitics) capital; capital city (place where the seat of a government is located)
  2. (figuratively) capital (the most important place associated with something)

Noun

capital m (plural capitais)

  1. (finances) capital (money that can be used to acquire goods and services)
  2. (figuratively) anything of prime importance

Derived terms

Adjective

capital m or f (plural capitais, comparable)

  1. capital (of prime importance)
  2. (law) capital (involving punishment by death)
  3. (rare, anatomy) capital (relating to the head)

Related terms


Romanian capital definition

Etymology

Borrowed from French capital, Latin capitālis.

Pronunciation

Noun

capital n (plural capitaluri)

  1. (economics, business) capital

Declension

Adjective

capital m or n (feminine singular capitală, masculine plural capitali, feminine and neuter plural capitale)

  1. capital, important

Declension


Romansch capital definition

Alternative forms

Etymology

From Latin capitālis, from caput (head).

Noun

capital m (plural capitals)

  1. (Sursilvan, Sutsilvan, Surmiran) capital

Related terms


Spanish capital definition

Etymology

Borrowed from Latin capitālis. Doublet of caudal.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /kapiˈtal/, [ka.piˈt̪al]
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -al

Adjective

capital (plural capitales)

  1. capital (important)
    Es asunto de capital importancia.
    This is a very important matter.
    Lo condenaron a la pena capital.
    He was sentenced to the death penalty.

Derived terms

Noun

capital m (plural capitales)

  1. capital (finance)

Derived terms

Noun

capital f (plural capitales)

  1. capital (city)

Further reading