caption

A caption is a brief description accompanying an illustration. You know the online photo of your baby cousin face-planting into a cake? The description underneath it that says "Hugh's First Birthday" — that's the caption.

The Latin root of caption is capito, which means "seizing" or "holding." What do captions have to do with seizing? Nothing. Centuries ago, when authorities seized someone's property for legal reasons, they presented documents that began with the phrase "certificate of caption." Eventually people began using the word to refer to the beginning of any document. Then they began using it to mean any article or chapter heading. And from chapter headings it was a short hop to picture headings. A long journey for a word whose definition includes the description "brief"!

PRIMARY MEANINGS OF: caption

1
nv
brief description accompanying an illustration
provide with a caption, as of a photograph or a drawing
2
n
taking exception; especially a quibble based on a captious argument
FULL DEFINITIONS OF: caption
1

n brief description accompanying an illustration

Synonyms:
legend
Type of:
title
a general or descriptive heading for a section of a written work

n translation of foreign dialogue of a movie or TV program; usually displayed at the bottom of the screen

Synonyms:
subtitle
Type of:
interlingual rendition, rendering, translation, version
a written communication in a second language having the same meaning as the written communication in a first language

v provide with a caption, as of a photograph or a drawing

Type of:
furnish, provide, render, supply
give something useful or necessary to
2

n taking exception; especially a quibble based on a captious argument

“a mere caption unworthy of a reply”
Type of:
exception
grounds for adverse criticism
WORD FAMILY
USAGE EXAMPLES