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a Central and South American monkey, Cebus capucinus, having a prehensile tail and hair on the head resembling a cowl.
any monkey of the genus Cebus.
a hooded cloak for women.
(initial capital letter). Also called Friar Minor Capuchin. Roman Catholic Church. a friar belonging to the branch of the Franciscan order that observes vows of poverty and austerity.
Compare Friar Minor, Friar Minor Conventual.
Contemporary Examples

The Italians also have a soft spot for capuchin Franciscans, who have long been known for their work with the poor.
The Case for Cardinal Sean O’Malley Christopher Dickey March 11, 2013

For centuries, capuchin monks followed simple embalming practices.
Palermo Has an Underground City Filled With Its Mummified Dead Nina Strochlic April 30, 2014

But that kid from Podunk, now unloading freight at the big-box store, is a universe away from Oxford and a capuchin friar buddy.
Anthony Swofford on America’s Best War Writer, Karl Marlantes Anthony Swofford November 11, 2011

Much later a friend who was a capuchin friar held for Marlantes an effective healing Mass for the Dead at Old Mission Santa Inez.
Anthony Swofford on America’s Best War Writer, Karl Marlantes Anthony Swofford November 11, 2011

Historical Examples

Without any further preamble the priest took a seat near the fire by the side of the capuchin friar.
The Queen Pedauque Anatole France

When the Pope walked in his garden that afternoon as usual, the old capuchin was with him.
The Eternal City Hall Caine

He had been a capuchin monk, in a monastery at or near Paris.
In Madeira Place Heman White Chaplin

Once or twice the capuchin said, “And how did you find my young penitent this morning?”
The Eternal City Hall Caine

Chabot, a capuchin monk, embittered by the cloister, and eager to avenge himself on the superstition which had imprisoned him.
History of the Girondists, Volume I Alphonse de Lamartine

The capuchin pushed his handkerchief into his sleeve and dropped back into his seat.
The Eternal City Hall Caine

any agile intelligent New World monkey of the genus Cebus, inhabiting forests in South America, typically having a cowl of thick hair on the top of the head
a woman’s hooded cloak
(sometimes capital) a rare variety of domestic fancy pigeon

a friar belonging to a strict and autonomous branch of the Franciscan order founded in 1525
(as modifier): a Capuchin friar


1520s, from Middle French capuchin (16c., Modern French capucin), from Italian capuccino, diminutive of capuccio “hood,” augmentative of cappa (see cap (n.)). Friar of the Order of St. Francis, under the rule of 1528, so called from the pointed hoods on their cloaks. As a type of monkey, 1785, from the shape of the hair on its head, thought to resemble a cowl.


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