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.

capitate (adjective)
1. Head-shaped.
2. In anatomy, enlarged and globular at the tip, as a bone of the wrist having a rounded knoblike end.
3. In botany, a description of a headlike mass or dense cluster, as the flowers of plants in the composite family; small flowers arranged in a dense cluster.
4. A description of a body part that is enlarged and rounded.
capitation (s) (noun), capitations (pl)
1. A payment or fee of a fixed and equal amount per person.
2. A numbering or assessing by the head.
3. A fixed per capita payment made periodically to a medical service provider (as a physician) by a managed care group (as an HMO) in return for medical care provided to enrolled individuals.
4. A method of assessing the number of people by counting heads or individuals.
capitol (s) (noun), capitols (pl)
1. The government building in Washington where the United States Senate and the House of Representatives meet.
2. A building or group of buildings in which a state legislature meets and where other state government offices may be housed.
3. Etymology: from the 14th century via French from Latin Capitolium, the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitoline Hill in ancient Rome; from Latin caput, "head".
capitonym (s) (noun), capitonyms (pl)
A word that changes its meaning and pronunciation when capitalized; such as, polish and Polish, august and August, concord and Concord and as shown in the two poems below:
Job's Job
In August, an august patriarch
Was reading an ad in Reading, Mass.
Long-suffering Job secured a job
To polish piles of Polish brass.

Herb's Herbs
An herb store owner, name of Herb,
Moved to a rainier Mount Rainier.
It would have been so nice in Nice,
And even tangier in Tangier.

—"Naming the nyms", by Richard Lederer
(; December 13, 2001)
capitopedal (adjective) (no comparatives)
A reference to the head and the feet.
capitulate (verb), capitulates; capitulated; capitulating
1. To surrender under specified conditions; to come to terms.
2. To give up all resistance; acquiesce: "When the government called out the troops, the strikers capitulated and went back to their jobs."
3. To give up, as to a superior power or authority.
4. To surrender, as an army or garrison, to an enemy, by treaty, in which the terms of surrender are specified and agreed to by the parties.

The term is applicable to a garrison or to the inhabitants of a besieged place, or to an army or troops in any situation in which they are subdued or compelled to submit to a victorious enemy.

5. Having ended all resistance; given up; gone along with, or complied with.

This may imply compliance with an enemy in war or an end to all resistance because of a loss of hope: "He argued and yelled for so long that we finally capitulated just so he would stop his raucous behavior."

6. Etymology: from Latin capitulum; diminutive of caput, "head".
To give up all resistence, to yield.

To stop resisting.
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To surrender on conditions agreed upon.
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capitulation (s) (noun), capitulations (pl)
1. The act of surrendering or giving up resistance to an enemy based on specified terms or conditions: "The military unit's capitulation to the attackers was based on an agreement that the troops would give up their weapons and leave the area and not come back."
2. The which is no longer being resisted or opposed: "The mayor's capitulations to the demands of the city council resulted in some improvements that people had asked for many times before."
3. An outline or summary in document form: "The contractor presented written capitulations as to what he would do for the apartment owner."
capitulatory (adjective)
1. A reference to an act of surrendering or giving up.
2. A description of a document containing the terms of surrender.
3. An enumeration of the main parts of a subject; a summary.
captain (s) (noun), captains (pl)
1. Someone who commands, leads, or guides others; especially, an officer in command of a ship, an aircraft, or a spacecraft.
2. A precinct commander in a police or fire department, usually ranking above a lieutenant and below a chief.
3. The designated leader of a team or crew in sports: "The captain of the football team gave his players the signals for the next play."
4. A commissioned rank in the U.S. Army, Air Force, or Marine Corps that is above first lieutenant and below a major: "The captain ordered his men to fire their weapons."
5. A commissioned rank in the U.S. Navy or Coast Guard that is above commander and below commodore.
6. A figure in the forefront; a leader: "He was considered a captain of industry."
7. Someone who supervises or directs the work of others; especially, a district official for a political party or a restaurant employee who is in charge of the waiters and usually attends to the seating of customers at tables.
8. Etymology: a person who stands at the head of others", from Old French capitaine, from Late Latin capitaneus, "chief, prominent"; from Latin caput.
captaincy (s) (noun), captaincies (pl)
1. The office or rank of a captain.
2. A district or area administered by a captain.
3. The ability of a captain; captainship.
cattle (pl) (noun)
1. Any of various domesticated mammals, including cows, steers, bulls, and oxen; often raised for meat and dairy products.
2. Humans when they are considered contemptuously or as a mob.
chapter (s) (noun), chapters (pl)
1. A main division, or sections, of a relatively lengthy piece of writing, such as a book, which is usually numbered or titled: "The students were assigned to read the first two chapters of the history text for tomorrow's class discussion."
2. A special period or sequence of events; such as, in history or a person's life: "Some say that air travel opened a new chapter in modern transportation."
3. A local branch of an organization; such as, a club or fraternity: "The New York chapter of the organization is allowing new members to enroll this time."
chattel (s) (noun), chattels (pl)
1. Movable property that a person owns personally as opposed to real estate: "Bill's chattels included his car and a large collection of novels that he kept in several book cases."

"Rena's father willed her all of his 'goods and chattels' including the tools that he used over the years as a carpenter."

2. Etymology: chattel comes from Medieval Latin capital, "property"; from which English has also inherited capital, and cattle."
chef (s) (noun), chefs (pl)
A head cook: "The chef made a roast fit for a king."
chief (adjective)