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  1. The quality of being led by caprice; whimsicalness; unsteadiness of purpose or opinion.
  2. Unsteadiness; liableness to sudden changes; as, the capriciousness of fortune.

CAP'RI-CORN, n. [L. capricornus, caper, a goat, and cornu, a horn.]

One of the twelve signs of the zodiac, the winter solstice; represented on ancient monuments, by the figure of a goat, or a figure having the fore part like a goat and the hind part like a fish. – Encyc.

CAP'RID, a. [L. capra, a goat.]

Relating to that tribe of ruminant mammals, of which the genus Capra is the type. It comprehends the genera Antilope, Capra, Ovis, and Damalis.

CAP-RI-FI-CA'TION, n. [L. caprificatio.]

The supposed impregnation of the ovules of the fruit of a fig, by an insect, which penetrates it and carries in the pollen adhering to his body.

CAP'RI-FOLE, n. [L. caprifolium.]

Honey-suckle; woodbine. – Spenser.

CAP'RI-FORM, a. [L. caper, a goat, and forma, form.]

Having the form of a goat. – Eclectic Review.


Produced by a goat.

CAP'RI-OLE, n. [Fr., now cabriole; Sp. and Port. cabriola; It. capriola, a caper.]

In the manege, caprioles are leaps that a horse makes in the same place without advancing, in such a manner that when he is at the highth of the leap, he jerks out with his hind legs, even and near. It differs from the croupade in this, that, in a croupade, a horse does not show his shoes; and from a balotade, in which he does not jerk out. – Farrier's Dict.

CAP'RI-PED, a. [L. caper, a goat, and pes, foot.]

Having feet like those of a goat.


The top sheaf of a stack of grain; the crowner.


Guinea pepper. – Chambers.

CAP-SIZE', v.t.

To upset or overturn; a seaman's phrase. – Mar. Dict.





CAP'STAN, n. [Sometimes written capstern. Fr. cabestan; Sp. cabestrante; Port. cabrestante, from cabresto, Sp. cabestro, a halter; L. capistrum; Sax. cæpster, or cæbestr, a halter. The Spanish has also cabria, an axle-tree, and cabrio, a rafter. Capstan is probably from L. capio, to hold, with some other word.]

A strong massy column of timber, formed like a truncated cone, and having its upper extremity pierced to receive bars or levers, for winding a rope round it, to raise great weights, or perform other extraordinary work that requires a great power. It may be let down through the decks of a ship, and so fixed that the work is performed by a horizontal motion. – Mar. Dict.


  1. Hollow like a chest.
  2. Capsular ligament, is that which surrounds every movable articulation, and contains the synovia like a bag. – Hooper.


Inclosed in a capsule, or as in a chest or box. – Botany.

CAP'SULE, or CAP'SU-LA, n. [L. capsula, a little chest, perhaps from capio, to take.]

  1. In botany, a pericarp which is “one or many-celled, many-seeded, superior, dry, dehiscent by valves, always proceeding from a compound ovarium.” – Lindley.
  2. A small saucer made of clay for roasting samples of ores, or for melting them.


  1. Chief; valiant. – Shak. – 1. The rank, post or commission of a captain. – Washington.
  2. The jurisdiction of a captain, or commander, as in South America.

CAP'TAIN, n. [Fr. capitaine; Sp. capitan; Port. capitam; It. capitano; from L. caput, the head. In the feudal laws of Europe, the term was applied to tenants in capite, who were bound to attend their prince in his wars, at the head of soldiers, and from this practice the name had its origin, or from their command.]

  1. Literally, a head or chief officer; appropriately, the military officer who commands a company, whether of infantry, cavalry, artillery or matrosses.
  2. The commander of a ship of war, or of a merchantman. But the latter is often called a master.
  3. The commander of a military band, a sense that occurs in the Scriptures; as, a captain of fifty.
  4. A man skilled in war or military affairs; as, Lord Wellington is a great captain.
  5. A chief commander. Shak. But in this sense rarely used, but in composition. Captain-General, is the commander in chief of an army, or of the militia. The governor of a state is Captain-General of the militia. United States. Captain-Lieutenant, is an officer, who with the rank of a captain and pay of lieutenant, commands a company or troop. Thus the colonel of a regiment being the captain of the first company, that company is commanded by a Captain-Lieutenant. Captain-Bashaw, or Capudan Bashaw, in Turkey, is the High Admiral.


The power or command over a certain district; chieftainship. – Spenser. Johnson.


  1. The condition or post of a captain or chief commander. – Shak.
  2. The rank, quality or post of a captain. In lieu of this, captaincy is now used.
  3. The command of a clan, or government of a certain district. – Davies.
  4. Skill in military affairs.

CAP'TA-TION, n. [L. captatio, from capto, to catch.]

The act or practice of catching favor or applause, by flattery or address. – King Charles.

CAP'TION, n.1 [L. captio, from capio, to seize.]

  1. The act of taking, or apprehending by a judicial process. [Little used.]
  2. A certificate signed by commissioners in chancery, declaring when and where the commission was executed. – Ash.
  3. A preamble.
  4. In Scots law, a writ issued at the instance of a creditor, commanding an officer to take and imprison the debtor, till he pays the debt.

CAP'TION, n.2 [L. captio, capio.]

In law, a certificate, stating the time and place of executing a commission in chancery, or of taking a deposition, or of the finding of an indictment, and the court or authority before which such act was performed, and such other particulars as are necessary to render it legal and valid. A caption may be placed at the head or foot of a certificate, or on the back of an indictment. The word caption signifies a taking, but it includes the particulars above mentioned. The use of the word in any other than a technical sense, is not considered to be well authorized.