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caper1

[key-per] /ˈkeɪ pər/
verb (used without object)
1.
to leap or skip about in a sprightly manner; prance; frisk; gambol.
noun
2.
a playful leap or skip.
3.
a prank or trick; harebrained escapade.
4.
a frivolous, carefree episode or activity.
5.
Slang. a criminal or illegal act, as a burglary or robbery.
Idioms
6.
cut a caper. cut (def 85a).
Origin
1585-1595
1585-95; figurative use of Latin caper he-goat (cognate with Old English hæfer, Old Norse hafr, Old Irish caera sheep < a West IE term *kap-(e)ro- for a domesticated smaller animal); for the meaning, cf. dog (v.)
Related forms
caperer, noun
caperingly, adverb
uncapering, adjective
Synonyms
3. stunt, antic, shenanigans. 4. spree, frolic.

caper2

[key-per] /ˈkeɪ pər/
noun
1.
a spiny shrub, Capparis spinosa, of Mediterranean regions, having roundish leaves and solitary white flowers.
2.
its flower bud, which is pickled and used for garnish or seasoning.
Compare caper family.
Origin
1350-1400; back formation from capers (taken for plural), Middle English caperes < Latin capparis < Greek kápparis
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for caper
  • Garnish with the caper berries and the optional chopped parsley and lemon slices.
  • Because the elephants have obliterated the trees, the riverfront has only caper bushes along it.
  • Serve with lemon wedges, potatoes, and caper mayonnaise.
  • Add tuna, anchovies and caper brine to the mixture, then beat to incorporate.
  • It's this obligation to fail that makes the caper movie, ultimately, so tiresome.
  • It was a breeding herd-all shapes and sizes of elephants pouring out of the caper bushes.
  • The movie is a caper without playfulness or wit-it's accomplished but not much fun.
  • Needless to say, this not exactly capering caper goes murderously awry.
  • If the caper bud is not picked, it flowers and produces a fruit called a caperberry.
British Dictionary definitions for caper

caper1

/ˈkeɪpə/
noun
1.
a playful skip or leap
2.
a high-spirited escapade
3.
cut a caper, cut capers
  1. to skip or jump playfully
  2. to act or behave playfully; frolic
4.
(slang) a crime, esp an organized robbery
5.
(Austral, informal) a job or occupation
6.
(Austral, informal) a person's behaviour
verb
7.
(intransitive) to leap or dance about in a light-hearted manner
Derived Forms
caperer, noun
caperingly, adverb
Word Origin
C16: probably from capriole

caper2

/ˈkeɪpə/
noun
1.
a spiny trailing Mediterranean capparidaceous shrub, Capparis spinosa, with edible flower buds
2.
any of various similar plants or their edible parts See also bean caper, capers
Word Origin
C15: from earlier capers, capres (assumed to be plural), from Latin capparis, from Greek kapparis
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for caper
v.

1580s, apparently short for obsolete capriole "to leap, skip," probably from Italian capriolare "jump in the air" (see cab). Related: Capered; capering.

n.

type of prickly Mediterranean bush, also in reference to the plant's edible buds, late 14c., from Latin capparis (source of Italian cappero, French câpre, German Kaper), from Greek kapparis "the caper plant or its fruit," of uncertain origin. Arabic kabbar, Persian kabar are from Greek. Perhaps reborrowed into English 16c. The final -s was mistaken for a plural inflection in English and dropped.

by 1590s, "playful leap or jump," from caper (v.); meaning "prank" is from 1840; that of "crime" is from 1926. To cut capers "dance in a frolicsome way" is from c.1600.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for caper

caper

noun
  1. A drunken spree; a carouse; binge (1870s+)
  2. A prank; stunt (1840s+)
  3. A crime, esp a robbery (1920s+ Underworld)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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