What word does your mother always say?


[kap-shuh n] /ˈkæp ʃən/
a title or explanation for a picture or illustration, especially in a magazine.
a heading or title, as of a chapter, article, or page.
Movies, Television. the title of a scene, the text of a speech, etc., superimposed on the film and projected onto the screen.
Law. the heading of a legal document stating the time, place, etc., of execution or performance.
verb (used with object)
to supply a caption or captions for; entitle:
to caption a photograph.
Origin of caption
1350-1400; Middle English capcio(u)n seizure < Latin captiōn- (stem of captiō), equivalent to capt(us) taken (see captive) + -iōn- -ion
Related forms
captionless, adjective
miscaption, verb (used with object)
subcaption, noun
supercaption, noun
uncaptioned, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for caption
  • We're extending last week's caption contest for another week.
  • The caption is an extremely important piece of the entry.
  • The birds are indeed cormorants and the caption has been updated.
  • One-hundred and seventy eight people voted for that caption.
  • So we're asking you, dear readers, to supply a proper caption for the picture and headline above.
  • When a word is flagged, the sound cuts out quickly and an optional caption pops up giving a mild approximation of what was said.
  • The writer got it wrong in the text and the caption writer may not have known better.
  • Below the caption he shows a contented figure in a bare room, stuffing handfuls of fuzz into his line-straight mouth.
  • But if you take the other meaning of the caption, it will be more interesting.
  • The caption says that juveniles are also harpooned in order to attract the older whales.
British Dictionary definitions for caption


a title, brief explanation, or comment accompanying an illustration; legend
a heading, title, or headline of a chapter, article, etc
graphic material, usually containing lettering, used in television presentation
another name for subtitle (sense 2)
the formal heading of a legal document stating when, where, and on what authority it was taken or made
to provide with a caption or captions
Word Origin
C14 (meaning: seizure, an arrest; later, heading of a legal document): from Latin captiō a seizing, from capere to take
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 caption

late 14c., "taking, seizure," from Old French capcion "arrest, capture, imprisonment," or directly from Latin captionem (nominative capito) "a catching, seizing, holding, taking," noun of action from past participle stem of capere "to take" (see capable).

From 17c. used especially in law, and there via its appearance at the head of legal document involving seizure ("Certificate of caption", etc.), the word's sense was extended to "the beginning of any document;" thus "heading of a chapter or section of an article" (1789), and, especially in U.S., "description or title below an illustration" (1919).


by 1901, from caption (n.). Related: Captioned; captioning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for caption

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for caption

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with caption