9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[kap-tiv] /ˈkæp tɪv/
a prisoner.
a person who is enslaved or dominated; slave:
He is the captive of his own fears.
made or held prisoner, especially in war:
captive troops.
kept in confinement or restraint:
captive animals.
enslaved by love, beauty, etc.; captivated:
her captive beau.
of or relating to a captive.
managed as an affiliate or subsidiary of a corporation and operated almost exclusively for the use or needs of the parent corporation rather than independently for the general public:
a captive shop; a captive mine.
Origin of captive
1300-50; Middle English (< Middle French) < Latin captīvus, equivalent to capt(us) taken (past participle of capere to take) + -īvus -ive
Related forms
noncaptive, adjective
pseudocaptive, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for captive
  • Its sad enough that these animals have to be held captive in the first place.
  • For parents with good risk, self-insurance through a captive avoids the snags of pooling risk.
  • Although it's difficult to be certain, captive inbreeding may cause more two-headed births than in the wild.
  • Finding might help captive breeding of the endangered cats.
  • If a students begins in one of these programs, they are captive until completion.
  • Scientists are trying to increase this captive population, though not for reintroduction purposes.
  • At best, such topics are the solipsistic concerns of literature professors determined to take advantage of a captive audience.
  • Television advertisers will pay immense sums of money to ensure a captive audience.
  • Many coffee producers use captive civets today, but the process remains the same.
  • Really useful, not too pricey and a great way to showcase to a captive audience.
British Dictionary definitions for captive


a person or animal that is confined or restrained, esp a prisoner of war
a person whose behaviour is dominated by some emotion: a captive of love
held as prisoner
held under restriction or control; confined: captive water held behind a dam
captivated; enraptured
unable by circumstances to avoid speeches, advertisements, etc (esp in the phrase captive audience)
Word Origin
C14: from Latin captīvus, 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 captive

late 14c., "imprisoned, enslaved," from Latin captivus "caught, taken prisoner," from captus, past participle of capere "to take, hold, seize" (see capable). As a noun from c.1400; an Old English noun was hæftling, from hæft "taken, seized."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
captive in the Bible

one taken in war. Captives were often treated with great cruelty and indignity (1 Kings 20:32; Josh. 10:24; Judg. 1:7; 2 Sam. 4:12; Judg. 8:7; 2 Sam. 12:31; 1 Chr. 20:3). When a city was taken by assault, all the men were slain, and the women and children carried away captive and sold as slaves (Isa. 20; 47:3; 2 Chr. 28:9-15; Ps. 44:12; Joel 3:3), and exposed to the most cruel treatment (Nah. 3:10; Zech. 14:2; Esther 3:13; 2 Kings 8:12; Isa. 13:16, 18). Captives were sometimes carried away into foreign countries, as was the case with the Jews (Jer. 20:5; 39:9, 10; 40:7).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for captive

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for captive

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with captive