Cap"i*tal (?), a. [F.
capital, L. capitalis capital (in senses 1 & 2),
fr. caput head. See Chief, and cf. Capital,
n.] 1. Of or pertaining to
the head. [Obs.]
Needs must the Serpent now his capital
Expect with mortal pain.
2. Having reference to, or involving, the
forfeiture of the head or life; affecting life; punishable with
death; as, capital trials; capital
Many crimes that are capital among us.
To put to death a capital offender.
3. First in importance; chief;
A capital article in religion
Whatever is capital and essential in
4. Chief, in a political sense, as being
the seat of the general government of a state or nation; as,
Washington and Paris are capital cities.
5. Of first rate quality; excellent; as,
a capital speech or song. [Colloq.]
Capital letter [F, lettre capitale]
(Print.), a leading or heading letter, used at the
beginning of a sentence and as the first letter of certain words,
distinguished, for the most part, both by different form and
larger size, from the small (lower-case) letters, which
form the greater part of common print or writing. --
Small capital letters have the form of
capital letters and height of the body of the lower-case
letters. -- Capital stock, money,
property, or stock invested in any business, or the enterprise of
any corporation or institution. Abbott.
Syn. -- Chief; leading; controlling; prominent.
Cap"i*tal (?), n. [Cf. L.
capitellum and Capitulum, a small head, the head,
top, or capital of a column, dim. of caput head; F.
chapiteau, OF. capitel. See Chief, and cf.
Cattle, Chattel, Chapiter, Chapter.]
1. (Arch.) The head or uppermost
member of a column, pilaster, etc. It consists generally of three
parts, abacus, bell (or vase), and
necking. See these terms, and Column.
2. [Cf. F. capilate, fem., sc.
ville.] (Geog.) The seat of government; the
chief city or town in a country; a metropolis. "A busy and
splendid capital" Macauly.
3. [Cf. F. capital.] Money,
property, or stock employed in trade, manufactures, etc.; the sum
invested or lent, as distinguished from the income or interest.
See Capital stock, under Capital,
4. (Polit. Econ.) That portion of
the produce of industry, which may be directly employed either to
support human beings or to assist in production.
&fist; When wealth is used to assist production it is called
capital. The capital of a civilized community includes
fixed capital (i.e. buildings, machines, and roads used in
the course of production and exchange) amd circulating
capital (i.e., food, fuel, money, etc., spent in the course
of production and exchange). T. Raleigh.
5. Anything which can be used to increase
one's power or influence.
He tried to make capital out of his rival's
6. (Fort.) An imaginary line
dividing a bastion, ravelin, or other work, into two equal
7. A chapter, or section, of a
Holy St. Bernard hath said in the 59th
Sir W. Scott.
8. (Print.) See Capital
letter, under Capital, a.
Active capital. See under
Active, -- Small capital
(Print.), a small capital letter. See under
Capital, a. -- To live on
one's capital, to consume one's capital without
producing or accumulating anything to replace it.