tr.v. cap·tured, cap·tur·ing, cap·tures
a. To take captive, as by force or craft; seize.
b. To gain possession or control of, as in a game or contest: capture the queen in chess; captured the liberal vote.
a. To attract and hold: tales of adventure that capture the imagination.
b. Astronomy To attract and pull (a celestial body) into orbit by gravitation.
3. To succeed in preserving in lasting form: capture a likeness in a painting.
1. The act of catching, taking, or winning, as by force or skill.
2. One that has been seized, caught, or won; a catch or prize.
3. Astronomy The process by which a massive body, such as a star or planet, draws and holds another body in gravitational orbit.
4. Physics The phenomenon in which an atom or a nucleus absorbs a subatomic particle, often with the subsequent emission of radiation.
[From French, capture, from Old French, from Latin captūra, a catching of animals, from captus, past participle of capere, to seize; see kap- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.