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.

precipitancy (s) (noun), precipitancies (pl)
Suddenness; an excessive haste.
precipitant (s) (noun), precipitants (pl)
1. A substance which causes a separation of chemicals in a solution: The students in the laboratory tried several precipitants in an effort to complete their assignment.
2. A reason or cause of a certain event or action: Jane thought that stress was the precipitant of the development of cancer in her breast.
precipitantly (adverb); more precipitantly, most precipitantly
Referring to how something is done with great haste, with rash unadvised haste, or with tumultuous speed: Jane and Bill regretted marrying precipitantly when they were only teenagers and knowing each other for only 2 weeks!
precipitate (verb), precipitates; precipitated; precipitating
1. To send someone or something suddenly and rapidly into a particular state or condition: Sam had to be careful while standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon, otherwise one false step might precipitate him down into the bottom of the canyon!
2. To cause a liquid or solid forms of water, condensed in the atmosphere, to fall to the ground: Excess moisture in the sky is precipitated as rain, snow, or hail, depending on the season of the year.
3. To throw someone or something from a great height, or to fall from a great height: Jack dropped a stone from the bridge high above the river and it precipitated down into the swirling roar below.
4. To cause a substance in a solution to settle down into solid particles: A chemical sediment occurs when certain substances are precipitated by an inorganic or organic process.
5. To occur with undue rapidity: The steep rise in prices for gas precipitated street rioting.
6. Etymology: from Latin praeceps, praecipitis, "headlong, steep"; from prae-, "before, forth" + caput, "head".
precipitation (s) (noun), precipitations (pl)
1. The act of making something happen suddenly and quickly: The thoughtless hiker was responsible for the precipitation of rocks abruptly falling down the hillside.
2. A casting down or falling headlong: Little Tommy tumbled down from the top step of the long staircase and this precipitation terrified and alarmed his parents greatly!
3. A hastening or hurrying in movement, procedure, or action: Jack's friends were convinced that he was responsible for the precipitation of his death because of his addiction to alcoholic beverages.
4. Sudden haste: The precipitation Janet showed by leaving so abruptly and without saying goodbye took all of her friends by complete surprise.
5. Unwise or rash rapidity: The burglar's precipitation from the house was completely foolish because he was immediately caught right outside before he could flee!
6. In meteorology, falling products of condensation in the atmosphere, such as snow or hail: When the weather forecast predicted a high level of precipitation, people had to expect a lot of rain.
7. The amount of snow, hail, etc., that has fallen at a given place within a given period, usually expressed in inches or centimeters of water: Ivy went outside to check the device that showed the precipitation of rain the night before.
8. In chemistry and physics, the separation of a solid substance from a solution: In precipitation, crystals assume a dense form when a point of total saturation has been attained.
9. Etymology: "sudden haste", from Middle French precipitation (15th century); directly from Latin praecipitationem, praecipitatio, "act" or "fact of falling headlong, haste, steep place"; from praecipitare, "to throw headlong, to fall, to be hasty"; from praeceps "headlong, steep"; which was a compound formed from the prefix prae-, "in front" + capit, caput, "head".
precipitous (adjective); more precipitous, most precipitous
1. A reference to an action done or acted on too quickly and without enough thought: Monroe finished his company assignment in a precipitous way which was accomplished in great haste and without proper deliberation.
2. Etymology: "abrupt, hasty"; later, "rushing headlong; probably formed partly in English from Latin praecipitium, "precipice" meaning "steep, headlong, headfirst"+ English -ous, "characterized by".
Relating to going down violently.
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precipitously (adverb); more precipitously, most precipitously
1. Regarding how something happens abruptly and in a dangerously steep manner: The cliffs rose sharply and precipitously from the shore of the ocean.
2. Pertaining to something which occurs very suddenly and to a great degree: If a reduction or increase in stocks on the stock market happens precipitously, it happens extremely fast.
precipitousness (s) (noun) (no plural)
The condition of something which is very steep; steepness; abruptness: When Lynn was driving, she was afraid of the precipitousness of the almost vertical mountain roads leading up and down quite hazardously and dangerously.
quadriceps (adjective)
A reference to having four heads; such as, certain muscles: "Quadriceps comes from the Latin elements of quadri-, "four" + -ceps, "heads".
quadriceps (s) (noun), quadriceps
A muscle of the thigh that extends the leg: "The quadriceps may refer to any four-headed muscle; however, it usually indicates that the quadriceps muscle of the thigh, the large muscle that comes down the femur (the bone of the upper leg), goes over the patella (the kneecap) and anchors into the top of the tibia (the big bone in the lower leg). The function of the quadriceps is to extend or to straighten out each leg."

"In Latin, this muscle's full formal name is musculus quadriceps femoris."

recap (s) (noun), recaps (pl)
A brief rephrasing or summary of an earlier report or speech, etc.
recap (verb), recaps; recapped; recapping
1. To reseal something with a cap.
2. To summarize or to repeat something in a more concise form: "Rena recapped the headlines near the end of the news program."
recapitulate (verb), recapitulates; recapitulated; recapitulating
1. To summarize the main ideas: When the professor had finished his lecture, a student recapitulated the talk in a few words.
2. To repeat briefly: The speaker was told that his point was understood and that it was not necessary to recapitulate anything.
3. Etymology: from Latin recapitulare, "to sum up"; from re-, "again" + capitulare, "to draw up under headings"; from capitulum, "little head", "chapter"; from caput, "head".
To summarize or to briefly repeat statements.
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recapitulated (adjective)
A reference to a summary that is a repetition or brief re-statement of a longer discussion or document: "Joseph wrote a recapitulated statement that was in a newspaper column."
recapitulater (s) (noun), recapitulaters (pl)