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capstan

[kap-stuh n, -stan] /ˈkæp stən, -stæn/
noun
1.
any of various windlasses, rotated in a horizontal plane by hand or machinery, for winding in ropes, cables, etc.
2.
a rotating spindle or shaft, powered by an electric motor, that transports magnetic tape past the heads of a tape recorder at a constant speed.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English < Middle French cabestan(t) < Old Provençal cabestan, variant of cabestran, presumably present participle of *cabest(r)ar, a verbal derivative of cabestre halter < Latin capistrum
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for capstan
  • The gunboat's capstan was capable of moving weights of several tons.
  • capstan is a spool-shaped cylinder for hoisting weights such as anchors and equipment.
  • The red or pink coating is capstan, a fungicide used on seeds meant for planting.
  • The relative motion is a combination of the ship backing and the buoy being reeled in on the capstan.
  • Engineering researchers developed a solution to prevent entanglements from a capstan-style deck winch.
  • Other deck machinery includes an electric warping capstan on the main deck aft, with its machinery below.
British Dictionary definitions for capstan

capstan

/ˈkæpstən/
noun
1.
a machine with a drum that rotates round a vertical spindle and is turned by a motor or lever, used for hauling in heavy ropes, etc
2.
any similar device, such as the rotating shaft in a tape recorder that pulls the tape past the head
Word Origin
C14: from Old Provençal cabestan, from Latin capistrum a halter, from capere to seize
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for capstan
n.

late 14c., from Old French cabestant, from Old Provençal cabestan, from capestre "pulley cord," from Latin capistrum "halter," from capere "to hold, take" (see capable).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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