Capital is the total amount of money (and things with a monetary value, like houses or cars) that a person or institution owns. A bank's capital might be in the billions, while your capital barely makes it into the hundreds.

Capital comes from the Latin capitalis, or "head," which some would argue is the command center of your body. Because your head is so important, capital, as a noun and as an adjective, has come to refer to the primary or chief example of something — whether it's money, a letter, a crime, or the national or state seat of a government. It can be easily confused with the American word capitol, which refers to the buildings where government activities take place.

Definitions of capital
  1. noun
    one of the large alphabetic characters used as the first letter in writing or printing proper names and sometimes for emphasis
    “printers once kept the type for capitals and for small letters in separate cases”
    capitals were kept in the upper half of the type case and so became known as upper-case letters”
    synonyms: capital letter, majuscule, upper-case letter, uppercase
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    lower-case letter, lowercase, miniscule, minuscule, small letter
    the characters that were once kept in bottom half of a compositor's type case
    small cap, small capital
    a character having the form of an upper-case letter but the same height as lower-case letters
    type of:
    character, grapheme, graphic symbol
    a written symbol that is used to represent speech
  2. adjective
    capital A”
    synonyms: great, majuscule
    relating to capital letters which were kept in the top half of a compositor's type case
  3. noun
    wealth in the form of money or property owned by a person or business and human resources of economic value
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    endowment, endowment fund
    the capital that provides income for an institution
    means, substance
    considerable capital (wealth or income)
    corpus, principal, principal sum
    capital as contrasted with the income derived from it
    a church endowment
    an endowment for the singing of Masses
    your personal financial means
    the necessary means (especially financial means)
    type of:
    anything of material value or usefulness that is owned by a person or company
  4. noun
    assets available for use in the production of further assets
    synonyms: working capital
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    the capital raised by a corporation through the issue of shares entitling holders to an ownership interest (equity)
    risk capital, venture capital
    wealth available for investment in new or speculative enterprises
    operating capital
    capital available for the operations of a firm (e.g. manufacturing or transportation) as distinct from financial transactions and long-term improvements
    seed money
    capital needed to set up a new business or enterprise
    common shares, common stock, ordinary shares
    stock other than preferred stock; entitles the owner to a share of the corporation's profits and a share of the voting power in shareholder elections
    no-par stock, no-par-value stock
    stock with no par value specified in the corporate charter or on the stock certificate
    preference shares, preferred shares, preferred stock
    stock whose holders are guaranteed priority in the payment of dividends but whose holders have no voting rights
    the number of shares outstanding and available for trading by the public
    common stock equivalent
    preferred stock or convertible bonds or warrants that can be converted into common stock
    control stock
    shares owned by shareholders who have a controlling interest
    growth stock
    stock of a corporation that has had faster than average gains in earnings and is expected to continue to
    hot issue, hot stock
    newly issued stock that is in great public demand
    authorized shares, authorized stock, capital stock
    the maximum number of shares authorized under the terms of a corporation's articles of incorporation
    quarter stock
    stock with a par value of $25/share
    reacquired stock, treasury shares, treasury stock
    stock that has been bought back by the issuing corporation and is available for retirement or resale; it is issued but not outstanding; it cannot vote and pays no dividends
    voting stock
    shares in a corporation that entitle the shareholder to voting and proxy rights
    watered stock
    stock representing ownership of overvalued assets; stock of a corporation whose total worth is less than its invested capital
    type of:
    anything of material value or usefulness that is owned by a person or company
  5. noun
    a seat of government
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    (Arthurian legend) the capital of King Arthur's kingdom; according to the legend, truth and goodness and beauty reigned there
    George Town
    the capital of the Cayman Islands
    capital of Barbados
    capital of Barbados; a port city on the southwestern coast of Barbados
    capital of Northern Ireland
    capital and largest city of Northern Ireland; the center of Protestantism in Northern Ireland
    the capital of Scotland; located in the Lothian Region on the south side of the Firth of Forth
    the capital and largest city of Wales
    national capital
    the capital city of a nation
    provincial capital
    the capital city of a province
    state capital
    the capital city of a political subdivision of a country
    type of:
    a center of authority (as a city from which authority is exercised)
  6. noun
    a center that is associated more than any other with some activity or product
    “the crime capital of Italy”
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    type of:
    center, centre
    a place where some particular activity is concentrated
  7. adjective
    involving or subject to the death penalty
  8. adjective
    “a capital fellow”
    “a capital idea”
    of high or superior quality or performance
  9. adjective
    of primary importance
    “our capital concern was to avoid defeat”
    of first rank or importance or value; direct and immediate rather than secondary
  10. noun
    the upper part of a column that supports the entablature
    synonyms: cap, chapiter
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    type of:
    the upper part of anything
Commonly confused words

capital / capitol

Aha! A capital is a stash of money or the government headquarters of a state. Oh, a capitol is a building.

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Word Family

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