There are 3 main definitions of cap in English:

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cap 1

Pronunciation: /kap/


1A kind of soft, flat hat without a brim and typically with a peak: a man wearing a raincoat and a flat cap figurative her cap of dark hair
More example sentences
  • He wore a flat cap, old woolen trousers, and a brown shirt that was several sizes too large for him.
  • Outside the grand clubhouse at the Legends course, at the heart of Château Elan, you almost expect chaps to be wandering around in plus-fours and flat caps.
  • Most men covered their heads with flat wool caps or skullcaps or turbans in a variety of sizes and colours.
1.1 [with adjective or noun modifier] A kind of soft, close-fitting head covering worn for a particular purpose: a shower cap a bathing cap
More example sentences
  • Those early wheelmen didn't have bicycle helmets, but they did wear close-fitting long-visored caps.
  • Opened in November 2001, it's run by two brothers with similar close-cut reddish beards, ethnic clothes and close-fitting caps.
  • If you think you can pull off any look, then I suggest you try on this chalk-stripe driving cap.
1.2British A cap awarded as a sign of membership of a particular sports team, especially a national team: he has won three caps for Scotland
More example sentences
  • He won his cap for the Portuguese national side at an early age.
  • Hughes earned 62 caps for the national team and led Liverpool to a string of honours while at the Anfield club.
  • Baggio completed a full 90 minutes and showed flashes of the ability that won him 60 caps for the Italian national side.
1.3British A player to whom a cap is awarded: a former naval officer and rugby cap
More example sentences
  • Both new caps fullback Peter Gibson and lock Paul Barker admitted to being a little nervous before flying out with the team yesterday afternoon.
  • It gives them a motivation to become a national cap and an international Test cricketer.
  • He and his dad Terry will be paired up as change bowlers, with the attack expected to be opened by two new caps, Paul Hart of Spring View and Steve Holt of Clifton.
1.4An academic mortar board: school-leavers in cap and gown
More example sentences
  • But in field after field, paper journals are becoming like academic caps and gowns, a purely ceremonial relict of an obsolete culture.
  • The same percentage of MIT engineering graduates in their caps and gowns could not light a bulb with a battery and one wire.
  • Your proud high school graduate has gone from caps and gowns to the fast-paced, challenging world of summer jobs.
mortar board, academic cap
dated trencher, trencher cap, square
2A protective lid or cover for an object such as a bottle, the point of a pen, or a camera lens: a glass bottle with a screw cap a lens cap from a camera
More example sentences
  • She pointedly puts the cap on her camera lens and walks with him.
  • Someone cleared their throat, and Artemesia straightened up, snapping the lens cap onto the camera.
  • This includes bottle caps, tin covers or aluminum foil - these are some of the items service technicians commonly find in clogged or broken disposals.
cover, covering;
North American  stopple
2.1An artificial protective covering for a tooth.
Example sentences
  • Then, Bodine suffered a concussion and a broken collarbone and needed eight caps for his teeth because of a practice crash at Michigan.
  • Her whole jaw was bruised, her cap for her tooth cost £404.
  • While your dentist might still recommend an apple a day and be able to fit natural-looking caps, the latest orthodontic innovations concentrate on stopping decay before it has a chance to do any damage.
2.2The top of a bird’s head when distinctively coloured.
Example sentences
  • Their heads are also relatively smaller and their gray caps less distinct than the Cooper's.
  • The crane has light to dark blue-gray plumage and a crimson cap at the back of its crown.
  • Males and females look the same, with white chins extending up just below the eyes and gray-brown caps.
3An upper limit imposed on spending or borrowing: he raised the cap on local authority spending
More example sentences
  • He promises to impose spending caps and offset spending increases with mandatory spending cuts or tax increases.
  • He was complaining about the absence of a cap in campaign spending before the formal election period, even though it was his party that exploited this loophole prior to the last election.
  • This time around, spending caps may not be enough.
limit, upper limit, ceiling;
curb, check
4 (also Dutch cap) British informal A contraceptive diaphragm.
Example sentences
  • Find out from this factsheet by the fpa how contraceptive diaphragms and caps work, how effective they are at preventing pregnancy and their advantages and disadvantages.
  • Diaphragms and caps are barrier methods of contraception.
  • Barrier methods of contraception include diaphragms, condoms and cervical caps.
5The broad upper part of the fruiting body of most mushrooms and toadstools, at the top of a stem and bearing gills or pores.
Example sentences
  • Coral mushrooms do not have caps but instead have a fruiting body of branched clusters.
  • The cap & stem that we commonly eat is just the fruiting body.
  • Five tall, slender mushrooms with yellow stems and glowing orange caps reach through the decaying foliage toward the sky as ants burrow underground.
6 short for percussion cap.
Example sentences
  • So, before you buy that cap gun or bouncing ball for your child, take some precautions.
  • We started selling snap caps a little over a year ago.
  • Like many boys he had been fascinated with guns when a young child and had the usual cap guns and nerd guns.

verb (caps, capping, capped)

[with object]
1Put a lid or cover on: he capped his pen
More example sentences
  • After capping it, the bottle should be shaken for 20 seconds.
  • He said that there have been discussions to change the technology of capping the wine bottles but so far the cork has remained.
  • When I capped the pen and folded the paper R. asked with surprise, ‘You're done?’
1.1Form a covering layer or topmost part of: (as adjective, in combination -capped) snow-capped mountains
More example sentences
  • The controversial hole in the ground will be capped with a layer of clay when planning permission runs out in December and landfill operators begin what they call ‘restoration’ of the site.
  • The radiocarbon-dated feature that produced the wild rice was located at the bottom of an undisturbed Late Woodland midden that had been capped with a layer of sterile sand.
  • Reclamation dredging is nearing completion and all reclaimed land will then be capped with a layer of rock, imported from a nearby quarry.
top, crown;
cover, coat, blanket, mantle
1.2Put an artificial protective covering on (a tooth): (as adjective capped) his smile revealed perfectly capped teeth
More example sentences
  • Coals flashed Marcus a grin, so full of perfectly capped teeth, so taut at the lips, so fleshy at the gum line that for a split second the image of a shark in an expensive wool suit was unavoidable.
  • If they've got bad teeth, you'll cap the teeth, if they need a makeover, you give them a makeover.
  • The scenes that are presumably supposed to depict camaraderie are hilariously forced; three sets of perfectly capped teeth clenched into rictus grins of barely suppressed hatred.
2Provide a fitting climax or conclusion to: he capped a memorable season by becoming champion of champions
More example sentences
  • It capped a memorable first season in charge for Wetheriggs manager Andrew Ridley, his assistant Bob Norman and coach Paul Renwick.
  • Katie Heginbotham from Barrows Green triumphed at HOYS to cap a memorable season.
  • The Reds, however, were not finished and they capped a memorable afternoon with a fifth try in the final minute when Darren Treacy forced his way over from close range.
round off, crown, be a fitting climax to, put the finishing touch/touches to, perfect, complete
2.1Follow or reply to (a story, remark, or joke) by producing a better one: he prayed no wit would cap his remark with some repartee
More example sentences
  • Cave's not a lunatic on a killing spree; he's a lovelorn bombmaker, and he caps this cinematic story of devotion with a spirited sing-along.
  • Mac McMurray capped this story by saying a townsman had a piece of petrified fence post with the drilled holes for wire with a piece of the wire attached.
  • Ruth would have felt the need to cap the comment in some way, or qualify it, or even dismiss it out of hand as arrant nonsense.
improve on, go one better than
informal best
3British Place a limit or restriction on (prices, expenditure, or borrowing): council budgets will be capped
More example sentences
  • If it caps the price of wonder drugs, pharmaceutical companies will fight it.
  • One of the most controversial recommendations of the report calls for the government to endorse a package of measures to fundamentally reform the property market by capping the price of development land.
  • He said he hoped the government's measure to cap fuel prices should not last too long because it could have repercussions in the long run.
set a limit on, put a ceiling on, limit, restrict, keep within bounds;
4 (be capped) British Be chosen as a member of a particular sports team, especially a national one: he was capped ten times by England
More example sentences
  • The Scotland full-back was capped 57 times during two decades with Celtic.
  • He was capped after just 12 league games for Arsenal and scored a century on his Test debut.
  • He has done everything he wanted to do - of course, he was capped by England at Rugby Union when he went back to that game.
choose, select, pick, include
5Scottish & NZ Confer a university degree on.
Example sentences
  • Kate Edger was appointed to teach at Christchurch Girls' High School and at the same time studied for a Master of Arts degree from Canterbury College and was capped in 1882.
  • Suspicions have been raised the letter bore a Manawatu postmark and may be linked to a capping stunt at Massey University.
  • The first ballet troupe I ever saw was the Selwyn Ballet at Otago University's annual capping concert, which summed it all up, really.



cap in hand (North American hat in hand)

British Humbly asking for a favour: we have to go cap in hand begging for funds
More example sentences
  • Tight new spending limits are set to be imposed on Britain's political parties to stop them going cap in hand to donors angling for peerages, knighthoods and other favours.
  • With every voter putting no more than five dollars into the Clean Money pool, candidates won't have to go hat in hand to lobbyists and fat cats, instead spending their time talking to voters.
  • Rather than going hat in hand to pharmaceutical executives, Canada uses single-payer's price controls to cap drug prices.

cap of maintenance

British A cap or hat worn as a symbol of official dignity or carried in front of a sovereign on ceremonial occasions.
Example sentences
  • Then comes the royal procession, with Baroness Amos carrying the cap of maintenance, a sort of scarlet bonnet with red trim.
  • The coat of arms of the city includes the ‘cap of maintenance’, giving the Sheriff the right to raise an army independently of the Crown.
  • The King rewarded the city with gifts - the famous cap of maintenance and sword, brought back home by William who was knighted later in life.

if the cap fits, wear it (North American if the shoe fits, wear it)

British Used as a way of suggesting that someone should accept a generalized remark or criticism as applying to themselves.
Example sentences
  • So whether or not you have £1m to spare, if the shoe fits, wear it - if only while you're hoovering.
  • So (if the cap fits, wear it) I was also there for you, comrades, citizens and Guardian-readers.
  • It kills me to write things like that, but if the shoe fits, wear it.

set one's cap at (or US for)

dated (Of a woman) try to attract (a particular man) as a suitor: she should buy herself a new frock and set her cap at someone else
More example sentences
  • Had she picked a Lord, or a Viscount, or someone of standard to set her cap at then her father wouldn't have voiced a single complaint.
  • Into this mix Brooks introduces two young catalysts, journalist Eve, who immediately draws Dan's attentions, and easygoing Gord, who sets his cap for Gena.
  • A brutalised war veteran, Harvey has begun a steamed - up adulterous affair with Signoret and finally found something like love, but sets his cap for a millionaire factory boss's daughter.

to cap it all

As the final unfortunate incident in a long series: she was on edge, her nerves taut, and to cap it all, she could feel the beginnings of a headache
More example sentences
  • There's more of everything, a plethora of competing versions vying for the user's attention and, to cap it all, the web is so jam-packed with information that it's getting harder by the day to sort the wheat from the chaff.
  • For Michael, his trainers, his employers and, of course, his family, travelling to South Korea to represent his country was a real thrill - and to cap it all, he came back with a Diploma of Excellence.
  • And then, to cap it all, I set the video for the Billy Wilder double bill on BBC2, only to see that it's been cancelled on account of the golf from Augusta.



Pronunciation: /ˈkapfʊl/
noun (plural capfuls)
Example sentences
  • I like to incorporate a capful of liquid wetting agent into the water when I am feeding my annuals, vegetables, pot plants and hanging baskets with soluble fertiliser.
  • The next stage is to soak them for a day or so in a diluted solution of household bleach (say two pints of water to a capful of bleach).
  • A cup of white vinegar or one capful of eucalyptus oil may be added to the soapy water as a disinfectant and freshener.


Old English cæppe 'hood', from late Latin cappa, perhaps from Latin caput 'head'.

  • We get our word cap from Latin cappa ‘hood’, which may be related to Latin caput ‘head’. Cape (late 16th century), ‘a cloak’, also come from cappa, while the geographical cape (Late Middle English) goes back to caput. The same source gives us chaperone (Late Middle English) first recorded as a hood. A person providing protection or cover by accompanying another, dates from the early 18th century. The saying if the cap fits, wear it goes back to a dunce's cap, of the kind that poor performers at school had to wear as a mark of disgrace. Americans use the version if the shoe fits, wear it. See also chapel

Words that rhyme with cap

bap, chap, clap, dap, entrap, enwrap, flap, frap, gap, giftwrap, hap, knap, lap, Lapp, map, nap, nappe, pap, rap, sap, schappe, scrap, slap, snap, strap, tap, trap, wrap, yap, zap
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There are 3 main definitions of cap in English:

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cap 2

Pronunciation: /kap/


Short for capitalization. [as modifier]: mid-cap companies small-cap stocks
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There are 3 main definitions of cap in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌsiːˌeɪˈpiː/
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