caper

1 [key-per]
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:
1585–95; 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.)

caperer, noun
caperingly, adverb
uncapering, adjective


3. stunt, antic, shenanigans. 4. spree, frolic.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
caper1 (ˈkeɪpə)
 
n
1.  a playful skip or leap
2.  a high-spirited escapade
3.  cut a caper, cut capers
 a.  to skip or jump playfully
 b.  to act or behave playfully; frolic
4.  slang a crime, esp an organized robbery
5.  informal (Austral) a job or occupation
6.  informal (Austral) a person's behaviour
 
vb
7.  (intr) to leap or dance about in a light-hearted manner
 
[C16: probably from capriole]
 
'caperer1
 
n
 
'caperingly1
 
adv

caper2 (ˈkeɪpə)
 
n
1.  a spiny trailing Mediterranean capparidaceous shrub, Capparis spinosa, with edible flower buds
2.  bean caper See also capers any of various similar plants or their edible parts
 
[C15: from earlier capers, capres (assumed to be plural), from Latin capparis, from Greek kapparis]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

caper
1580s, probably from It. capriolare "jump in the air" (see cab). Meaning "prank" is from 1840s; that of "crime" is from 1926. To cut capers is c.1600.

caper
1382, from L. capparis, from Gk. kapparis, of uncertain origin. The final -s was mistaken for pl. inflection in Eng. and dropped.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The spotted panther leaping on high with bounding feet capered toward the hare.
They capered at the head of the animal, seeking to divert his wrath from one to the other alternately.
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