Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?


[kap-i-tey-shuh n] /ˌkæp ɪˈteɪ ʃən/
a numbering or assessing by the head.
a poll tax.
a fee or payment of a uniform amount for each person.
1605-15; (< F) < Late Latin capitātiōn- (stem of capitātiō), equivalent to Latin capit- (stem of caput) head + -ātiōn -ation
Related forms
capitative, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for capitation
  • Many doctors are members of groups that get paid a certain amount per patient for large groups, capitation.
British Dictionary definitions for capitation


a tax levied on the basis of a fixed amount per head
capitation grant, a grant of money given to every person who qualifies under certain conditions
the process of assessing or numbering by counting heads
Derived Forms
capitative, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin capitātiō, from Latin 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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for capitation

1610s, "counting of heads," from Late Latin capitationem (nominative capitatio), noun of action from past participle stem of a verb derived from caput "head" (see capitulum). Meaning "levying of a poll tax" is from 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for capitation

major direct tax in France before the Revolution of 1789, first established in 1695 as a wartime measure. Originally, the capitation was to be paid by every subject, the amount varying according to class. For the purpose of the tax, French society was divided into 22 classes, ranging from members of the royal family who owed 2,000 livres (basic monetary unit of pre-Revolutionary France) to dayworkers who owed only one livre. The tax became permanent in the early 18th century, with apportionment by an intendant (royal agent) replacing the class system of payment. In practice the capitation was merely an addition to the taille, the long-existing royal tax, falling predominantly on the nonprivileged classes of the French people, who paid the bulk of the taxes. It was abolished with the Revolution

Learn more about capitation with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for capitation

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for capitation

Scrabble Words With Friends