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to take by force or stratagem; take prisoner; seize:
The police captured the burglar.
to gain control of or exert influence over:
an ad that captured our attention; a TV show that captured 30% of the prime-time audience.
to take possession of, as in a game or contest:
to capture a pawn in chess.
to represent or record in lasting form:
The movie succeeded in capturing the atmosphere of Berlin in the 1930s.

to enter (data) into a computer for processing or storage.
to record (data) in preparation for such entry.

the act of capturing.
the thing or person captured.
Physics. the process in which an atomic or nuclear system acquires an additional particle.
Crystallography. substitution in a crystal lattice of a trace element for an element of lower valence.
Contemporary Examples

A powerful new documentary that premiered at Tribeca captures the awful lives of bullied and tormented kids across America.
The Bully Project Director Talks About Documenting Bullying in American Schools Louis Jordan April 29, 2011

Summerville captures this ambiance with a mix of ready-to-wear couture pieces and original creations.
The ‘Catching Fire’ Costume Designer Talks the Dark Turn in ‘Hunger Games’ Fashion Amy Zimmerman November 21, 2013

There is NO other author in my mind that captures an American in France better than Patricia Wells.
Fresh Picks Edward Brown March 1, 2010

With a little luck, the last chapter of Sag Harbor captures how I feel about the dance of the generations.
The Great Summer Read Is Here Jane Ciabattari February 18, 2009

For me, this Election Day had a trajectory that captures what many Israelis experienced.
A Glorious Day Off For Democracy On Gil Troy January 22, 2013

Historical Examples

I lingered behind with one man, and sent the captures back to Middleburg.
Mosby’s War Reminiscences John Singleton Mosby

The diagram (Fig. 76) will explain the way in which the earth makes her captures.
The Story of the Heavens Robert Stawell Ball

Make an inspection of any captures you may take, and waste no time in bringing hither worthless ones.
The Trampling of the Lilies Rafael Sabatini

Clearly the steamer could not be burned like other captures.
The Naval History of the United States Willis J. Abbot.

We are not short of money, thanks to the captures we have made.
No Surrender! G. A. Henty

verb (transitive)
to take prisoner or gain control over: to capture an enemy, to capture a town
(in a game or contest) to win control or possession of: to capture a pawn in chess
to succeed in representing or describing (something elusive): the artist captured her likeness
(physics) (of an atom, molecule, ion, or nucleus) to acquire (an additional particle)
to insert or transfer (data) into a computer
the act of taking by force; seizure
the person or thing captured; booty
(physics) a process by which an atom, molecule, ion, or nucleus acquires an additional particle
(geography) Also called piracy. the process by which the headwaters of one river are diverted into another through erosion caused by the second river’s tributaries
the act or process of inserting or transferring data into a computer

1540s, from Middle French capture “a taking,” from Latin captura “a taking” (especially of animals), from captus (see captive).

1795, from capture (n.); in chess, checkers, etc., 1820. Related: Captured; capturing. Earlier verb in this sense was captive (early 15c.).

capture cap·ture (kāp’chər)
The act of catching, taking, or holding a particle or impulse.


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  • Capuana

    noun Luigi. 1839–1915, Italian realist novelist, dramatist, and critic. His works include the novel Giacinta (1879) and the play Malia (1895) Historical Examples The second school of this kind organized was that of San Onofrio a capuana, in 1576. A Popular History of the Art of Music W. S. B. Mathews

  • Capuche

    a hood or cowl, especially the long, pointed cowl of the Capuchins. Historical Examples From their hood (capuche) they received the popular name of Capuchins. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 5, Slice 3 Various noun a large hood or cowl, esp that worn by Capuchin friars

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