Pharmacology. a gelatinous case enclosing a dose of medicine.

a membranous sac or integument.
either of two strata of white matter in the cerebrum.
the sporangium of various spore-producing organisms, as ferns, mosses, algae, and fungi.

Botany. a dry dehiscent fruit, composed of two or more carpels.
a small case, envelope, or covering.
Also called space capsule. Aerospace. a sealed cabin, container, or vehicle in which a person or animal can ride in flight in space or at very high altitudes within the earth’s atmosphere.
Aviation. a similar cabin in a military aircraft, which can be ejected from the aircraft in an emergency.
a thin metal covering for the mouth of a corked bottle.
a concise report; brief outline:
An appendix to the book contains biographical capsules of the contributors.
to furnish with or enclose in or as if in a capsule; encapsulate.
to capsulize.
small and compact.
short and concise; brief and summarized:
a capsule report.
Contemporary Examples

Straighten up and fly right: the capsule is rolling and jettisoning its remaining ballast masses for parachute deploy.
Curiosity’s Mars Landing Narrated Moment by Moment by Flight Director Keith Comeaux Keith Comeaux August 6, 2012

By working together on this capsule collection, we hope to instill a sense of power, confidence and beauty in women everywhere.
‘Pretty Little Liars’ Star Acknowledges ‘GQ’ Photoshop; Joseph Altuzarra Tapped as Next Target Collection Fashion Designer The Fashion Beast Team May 21, 2014

The capsule ranges from $1,200 to $4,000 for a six-month supply, depending on the dose.
New Anti-Aging Pill Under Fire Thea Singer April 10, 2011

The treasures found within the capsule were mostly records that reflected those immediately involved with its planning.
New York’s Century-Old Time Capsule Is a Dud Justin Jones October 7, 2014

Amazingly, Nicholson found the source code for the control console of the Russian Soyuz capsule on a Russian website.
Space on Earth: The Secrets of Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Gravity’ Clive Irving February 28, 2014

Historical Examples

capsule 2-celled, loculicidal, with each axile placenta bearing 2–10 flattish seeds.
The Manual of the Botany of the Northern United States Asa Gray

Capsular: in the form of a capsule or little cup-like container.
Explanation of Terms Used in Entomology John. B. Smith

The softened mass is finally absorbed, and the walls of the cyst, or capsule around it, gradually collapse and form a cicatrix.
Special Report on Diseases of Cattle U.S. Department of Agriculture

The capsule splits into four valves, something like a liverwort.
Elements of Structural and Systematic Botany Douglas Houghton Campbell

Each of these cavities terminates in a fallopian tube, which opens into the capsule of an ovarium.
An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Vol. 2 David Collins

a soluble case of gelatine enclosing a dose of medicine
a thin metal cap, seal, or cover, such as the foil covering the cork of a wine bottle

a dry fruit that liberates its seeds by splitting, as in the violet, or through pores, as in the poppy
the spore-producing organ of mosses and liverworts

(bacteriol) a gelatinous layer of polysaccharide or protein surrounding the cell wall of some bacteria: thought to be responsible for the virulence in pathogens

a cartilaginous, fibrous, or membranous envelope surrounding any of certain organs or parts
a broad band of white fibres (internal capsule) near the thalamus in each cerebral hemisphere

See space capsule
an aeroplane cockpit that can be ejected in a flight emergency, complete with crew, instruments, etc
(modifier) in a highly concise form: a capsule summary
(modifier) (in the fashion industry) consisting of a few important representative items: a capsule collection

1650s, from French capsule “a membranous sac” (16c.), from Latin capsula “small box or chest,” diminutive of capsa “box, case, chest” (see case (n.2)). Medicinal sense is 1875; shortened form cap is from 1942. Sense in space capsule is first recorded 1954. As an adjective from 1938. Related: Capsular.

capsule cap·sule (kāp’səl, -sōōl)

A fibrous, membranous, or fatty sheath that encloses an organ or part, such as the sac surrounding the kidney or the fibrous tissues that surround a joint.

A small soluble container, usually made of gelatin, that encloses a dose of an oral medicine or a vitamin.

The thin-walled, spore-containing structure of mosses and related plants.

cap’su·lar (kāp’sə-lər, -syu-) adj.
(kāp’səl, -sl)

A dry dehiscent fruit that develops from two or more carpels, as in the poppy and the cottonwood tree.

The sporangium (the hollow spore-producing structure) of mosses and other bryophytes.

The outer layer of viscous polysaccharide or polypeptide slime with which some bacteria cover their cell walls. Capsules provide defense against phagocytes and prevent the bacteria from drying out.


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