capit-, capt-, cap-, cep-, ceps-, chapt-, chef, cip-

(Latin: head; leader, chief, or first)

It may be surprising to see that a "captain" and a "chef" both belong to the same word family; however, a captain is, of course, the "head of a company of military soldiers", and a "chef is the captain of a group of cooks".

A chef, especially to those who love good food, is not a lowly official; and when it is remembered that the old saying that "an army travels on its stomach", a chef is every bit as important as a captain.

When the French borrowed words from Latin, they frequently used soft sounds. These French words, with their softer sounds, then made their way into the English language. At the same time, English borrowed words directly from Latin. So it is that in English we often have two words which share the same root, but which have different, though related, forms and meanings.

—Compiled from information located in
Words Come in Families by Edward Horowitz, Ph.D.;
Hart Publishing Company, Inc.; New York; 1977; pages 39-42.

Don't confuse the words in this capit-, capt- unit with those in the cap-, cip-, "catch, seize" unit.

chief (s) (noun), chiefs (pl)
1. The head or primary person. 2. The main thing: "Poverty is one of the chief causes of crime."
chiefly (adverb)
chieftain (noun), chieftains (pl)
cryoprecipitation (s) (noun), cryoprecipitations (pl)
The process of forming a solid that settles from a solution: " The cryoprecipitation that forms when plasma is frozen and then thawed; which is especially rich in fibronectin (secreted proteins) and a blood clotting factor, that when acting together can form a blood clot shortly after platelets have broken at the site of the wound."
decapitate (verb), decapitates; decapitated; decapitating
To cut off a head: With one swift blow, the butcher decapitated the chicken.
decapitated (adjective) (no comparatives)
decapitation (s) (noun), decapitations (pl)
decapitator (s) (noun), decapitators (pl)
dolor capitis (s) (noun)
1. A head ache which is a result of changes in the scalp or bones instead of the intracranial structures.
2. Mental suffering or anguish.
electric precipitation (s) (noun), electric precipitations (pl)
A procedure using an electric field to enhance the separation of hydrocarbon reagent dispersions: "Electric precipitation makes the separation of hydrocarbon dispersions more efficient because such a process of scatterings or divisions are too fine to accomplish efficiently by any other method."

electrostatic precipitation (s) (noun), electrostatic precipitations (pl)
The removal of dust, smoke, or other finely divided particles from the air by charging the particles with an electric field so they are attracted to oppositely charged collector electrodes and collected by those polarized electrodes.
escape (s) (noun), escapes (pl)
Etymology: from the prefix ex-, "out of" and cappa, "cape".

The cape was an ordinary article of clothing. When a person was attacked and the cape grasped, he would squirm out of it, leaving the attacker holding the cape. Breaking loose and fleeing was an "escape"; and so leaving "out of the cape" or an ex cappa.

ex capite (s) (noun)
Out of the head; from the head: "Memory is ex capite because it comes from the head."
handkerchief, hankie (s) (noun); handkerchiefs, hankies (pl)
1. A small cloth used for wiping one's face, nose, or eyes.
2. A square of cloth, or absorbent paper, used primarily to wipe areas of the face; especially, the nose.
3. Etymology: from hand + kerchief, "cloth for covering the head"; from Old French couvrechief, literally, "cover head"; from couvrir "to cover" + chief, "head".
kaput, kaputt (kuh POOT) (s) (noun)
A German word for "anything broken, wrecked, or unserviceable".

The origin of kaput presented by "etymologists" seems to be inconsistent and even irrational

What is the correct information?

1. A change of meaning of the Latin caput occurred in German, in which kaputt now means "wrecked" or "broken". Germanic burial squads in the Middle Ages counted each corpse as a "head", or caput, so the word came to mean "broken, wrecked, or unserviceable".

—Charles Berlitz, Native Tongues, Grosset & Dunlap Publishers, New York, page 16-17.

2. Capot was borrowed into English directly from French as early as the seventeenth century as a noun signifying the winning of all the tricks in piquet (a card game) and other games.

In German this same capot was transliterated as kaput, and from the sense of having lost a game, German kaput developed the senses of "finished" and "broken".

Webster's Word Histories, Merriam-Webster Inc., Publishers; Springfield, Massachusetts; 1989, page 261.

3. Informal, "finished, dead, done for, broken (of a device or machine)".

From 1895, borrowing of German kaputt, probably abstracted from the earlier phrase capot machen, a partial translation by false interpretation of faire in the French faire capot, "be defeated", from its use in the card game of piquit where the phrase refers to losing all the tricks in a game; ultimately from capot cover or bonnet, from Middle French cape cloak.

The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology, The H.W. Wilson Company, 1988; page 561.