Definition of capstan in English:

capstan

Line breaks: cap|stan
Pronunciation: /ˈkapst(ə)n
 
/

noun

  • 1A broad revolving cylinder with a vertical axis used for winding a rope or cable, powered by a motor or pushed round by levers.
    More example sentences
    • Helping were a number of Adsteam tugs and a team of ADI dockworkers who, with stout ropes and capstans finally secured the giant ship.
    • The space round the anchor capstans is interesting; it looks as if it was designed for a gang of sailors to work the capstan by hand if the powered mechanism should fail.
    • The pirates instantly began winching the cable in with a capstan.
  • 1.1The motor-driven spindle on a tape recorder that makes the tape travel past the head at constant speed.
    More example sentences
    • Any rolling part can do it, but the major flutter-maker in your tape recorder is likely to be the capstan.
    • But as the tape winds on over the capstans, fragments are lost or dulled, and the music becomes a ghost of itself, tiny gasps of full-bodied chords groaning to life amid pits of near-silence.
    • Helical Scan media, on the other hand, is pulled out of the cartridge shell, then led through a complicated system of guides and capstan rollers before being wrapped around a rotating head.

Origin

late Middle English: from Provençal cabestan, from cabestre 'halter', from Latin capistrum, from capere 'seize'.

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Pronunciation: ˌkɒlərəˈtjʊərə
noun
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody