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13 Essential Literary Terms

capital1

[kap-i-tl] /ˈkæp ɪ tl/
noun
1.
the city or town that is the official seat of government in a country, state, etc.:
Tokyo is the capital of Japan.
2.
a city regarded as being of special eminence in some field of activity:
New York is the dance capital of the world.
4.
the wealth, whether in money or property, owned or employed in business by an individual, firm, corporation, etc.
5.
an accumulated stock of such wealth.
6.
any form of wealth employed or capable of being employed in the production of more wealth.
7.
Accounting.
  1. assets remaining after deduction of liabilities; the net worth of a business.
  2. the ownership interest in a business.
8.
any source of profit, advantage, power, etc.; asset:
His indefatigable drive is his greatest capital.
9.
capitalists as a group or class (distinguished from labor):
High taxation has reduced the spending power of capital.
adjective
10.
pertaining to financial capital:
capital stock.
11.
principal; highly important:
This guide offers suggestions of capital interest to travelers.
12.
chief, especially as being the official seat of government of a country, state, etc.:
the capital city of France.
13.
excellent or first-rate:
a capital hotel; a capital fellow.
15.
involving the loss of life:
capital punishment.
16.
punishable by death:
a capital crime; a capital offender.
17.
fatal; extremely serious:
a capital error.
Origin
1175-1225
1175-1225; Middle English; (adj.) (< Anglo-French) < Latin capitālis of the head (capit-, stem of caput head, + -ālis -al1); (noun) < Medieval Latin capitāle wealth, noun use of neuter of capitālis (adj.)
Related forms
capitalness, noun
Can be confused
capital, Capitol (see usage note at the current entry)
Synonyms
4. principal, investment, assets, stock. 11. prime, primary, first. The adjectives capital, chief, major, principal apply to a main or leading representative of a kind. Capital may mean larger or more prominent; it may also suggest preeminence or excellence: capital letter, idea, virtue, etc. Chief means leading, highest in office or power: the chief clerk. Major may refer to greatness of importance, number, or quantity: a major operation, the major part of a population. Principal refers to most distinguished, influential, or foremost: principal officer.
Antonyms
11. trivial, minor.
Usage note
The noun capital1 refers to a city or town that is the seat of government; to a capital letter as opposed to a lowercase letter; and to wealth or resources. The noun Capitol refers primarily to the building in Washington, D.C., in which Congress sits or to similar buildings used by state legislatures.

capital2

[kap-i-tl] /ˈkæp ɪ tl/
noun, Architecture
1.
the distinctively treated upper end of a column, pier, or the like.
Origin
1250-1300; Middle English capitale head (noun use of neuter of Latin adj.) for Latin capitellum, equivalent to capit- (stem of caput) head + -ellum diminutive suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for capital
  • Never before had the world seen capital flight on such a scale and speed, causing financial markets and economies to collapse.
  • The federal trial judge in a case issues her vital ruling before the capital defendant's lawyers have completed their argument.
  • But they are the preferred way to get hesitant capital in motion without making full financial commitments with tax dollars.
  • The nation's capital is a top destination for family travelers.
  • You'd owe capital gains tax on the $54000 gain, which at the current 15% long-term capital gains rate, would be $8100 in taxes.
  • We gain prestige in our cultures not just or even necessarily primarily through economic capital.
  • When 3 letters are all capital its pretty obvious that its an abbreviation.
  • Despite his reputation for decadence and folly, his choice to make Ravenna his new capital was a wise one.
  • However, this does not prove that unimpeded flows of capital are a good thing.
  • Of course all of this unfurls in the meatpacking district, Manhattan's current capital of cocktails and kitsch.
British Dictionary definitions for capital

capital1

/ˈkæpɪtəl/
noun
1.
  1. the seat of government of a country or other political unit
  2. (as modifier): a capital city
2.
material wealth owned by an individual or business enterprise
3.
wealth available for or capable of use in the production of further wealth, as by industrial investment
4.
make capital of, make capital out of, to get advantage from
5.
(sometimes capital) the capitalist class or their interests: capital versus labour
6.
(accounting)
  1. the ownership interests of a business as represented by the excess of assets over liabilities
  2. the nominal value of the authorized or issued shares
  3. (as modifier): capital issues
7.
any assets or resources, esp when used to gain profit or advantage
8.
  1. a capital letter Abbreviation cap., cap
  2. (as modifier): capital B
9.
with a capital letter, (used to give emphasis to a statement): he is mean with a capital M
adjective
10.
(prenominal) (law) involving or punishable by death: a capital offence
11.
very serious; fatal: a capital error
12.
primary, chief, or principal: our capital concern is that everyone be fed
13.
of, relating to, or designating the large modern majuscule letter used chiefly as the initial letter in personal names and place names and other uniquely specificatory nouns, and often for abbreviations and acronyms Compare small (sense 9) See also upper case
14.
(mainly Brit) excellent; first-rate: a capital idea
Word Origin
C13: from Latin capitālis (adj) concerning the head, chief, from caput head; compare Medieval Latin capitāle (n) wealth, from capitālis (adj)

capital2

/ˈkæpɪtəl/
noun
1.
the upper part of a column or pier that supports the entablature Also called chapiter, cap
Word Origin
C14: from Old French capitel, from Late Latin capitellum, diminutive of caput head
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 capital
adj.

early 13c., "of or pertaining to the head," from Old French capital, from Latin capitalis "of the head," hence "capital, chief, first," from caput (genitive capitis) "head" (see capitulum).

Meaning "principal" is early 15c. Of letters, "upper case," from late 14c. A capital crime (1520s) is one that affects the life or "head;" capital had a sense of "deadly, mortal" from late 14c. in English, a sense also found in Latin. The felt connection between "head" and "life, mortality" also existed in Old English: e.g. heafodgilt "deadly sin, capital offense," heafdes þolian "to forfeit life." Capital punishment was in Blackstone (1765) and classical Latin capitis poena.

Capital gain is recorded from 1921. Capital goods is recorded from 1899. Of ships, "first-rate, of the line," attested from 1650s. Related: Capitally.

n.

early 15c., "a capital letter," from capital (adj.). The meaning "capital city" is first recorded 1660s (the Old English word was heafodstol). The financial sense is from 1610s (Middle English had chief money "principal fund," mid-14c.), from Medieval Latin capitale "stock, property," noun use of neuter of capitalis "capital, chief, first." (The noun use of this adjective in classical Latin was for "a capital crime.")

[The term capital] made its first appearance in medieval Latin as an adjective capitalis (from caput, head) modifying the word pars, to designate the principal sum of a money loan. The principal part of a loan was contrasted with the "usury"--later called interest--the payment made to the lender in addition to the return of the sum lent. This usage, unknown to classical Latin, had become common by the thirteenth century and possibly had begun as early as 1100 A.D., in the first chartered towns of Europe. [Frank A. Fetter, "Reformulation of the Concepts of Capital and Income in Economics and Accounting," 1937, in "Capital, Interest, & Rent," 1977]
Also see cattle, and cf. sense development of fee, pecuniary.

"head of a column or pillar," late 13c., from Anglo-French capitel, Old French chapitel, or directly from Latin capitellum "little head," diminutive of caput (see capitulum).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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capital in Culture

capital definition


In architecture, the top portion of a column.

Note: The form of the capital often serves to distinguish one style of architecture from another. For example, the Corinthian, Doric, and Ionic styles of Greek architecture all have different capitals.

capital definition


Money used to finance the purchase of the means of production, such as machines, or the machines themselves.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for capital

capital

noun

Money; cash: short of capital after the errands


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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Idioms and Phrases with capital

capital

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Difficulty index for capital

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Word Value for capital

11
14
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