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captain

Line breaks: cap|tain
Pronunciation: /ˈkaptɪn
 
/

Definition of captain in English:

noun

1The person in command of a ship: he found a vessel whose captain was prepared to sign him on
More example sentences
  • You can build farms and plantations, hire sailors and ship captains to build your fleet, and establish trade routes to line your pockets.
  • How was it different, playing another man's songs, and being a deckhand instead of the captain of the ship?
  • Eng follows the future Captain Buffet to Mississippi where he is a sailing ship captain and raises a family.
Synonyms
commander, master, skipper
informal old man
1.1The pilot in command of a civil aircraft: aircraft captains are entitled to deny boarding to passengers under the influence of drugs
More example sentences
  • It's the sort of aircraft where the captain's pre-flight safety briefing includes a warning not to touch the controls!
  • Balpa said that under the agreement an aircraft captain will be told when sky marshals are to be on board a flight, who they are and where they will be sitting.
  • Once the aircraft was on auto pilot, the captain, who had greeted me with a huge smile on the tarmac, came out of his cabin and chatted with the passengers.
1.2A rank of naval officer above commander and below commodore.
Example sentences
  • Among the burglar's loot were Nelson's three precious Naval Gold Medals, a mark of honour awarded to admirals and captains present at certain Naval engagements in the Napoleonic Wars.
  • Among those attending were First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Alan West, retired First Sea Lord Admiral Jock Slater and several former commodores and captains of Dryad.
  • The state of the care at Haslar attracted the attention of the top brass, who in 1795 decided that executive command of the establishment would be better in the hands of Naval captains.
1.3A rank of officer in the army and in the US and Canadian air forces, above lieutenant and below major.
Example sentences
  • Minister for Defence Robert Hill talks with an Australian Army captain and warrant officer at a Middle East base.
  • Three to five platoons form a company, which is commanded by a captain with a first sergeant as the commander's principal NCO assistant.
  • What advice would you offer to U.S. Army infantry captains considering applying for an assignment in SOUTHCOM?
2The leader of a team, especially in sports: the cup was presented to the winning team’s captain
More example sentences
  • During my senior year of high school, I was the captain of my basketball team and the king of superstitions.
  • The rugby chairman and team captains receive and make more phone calls to players to fill teams.
  • Should the game run its full course, the trophy will be handed to the captain of the winning team late on Sunday.
Synonyms
leader, head, skipper;
representative, figurehead
informal boss
2.1A powerful or influential person in a particular field: a captain of industry
More example sentences
  • Influential captains of industry have complained that Kerry is one of the most expensive counties in Ireland in terms of rates charged to businesses.
  • But the battle lines are not what you'd expect: local versus multinational, simple peasant versus powerful captains of industry.
  • Like him or loathe him, no-one could ignore Sir John, who mixed with prime ministers, princes, captains of industry and film stars.
Synonyms
magnate, tycoon, mogul, grandee, baron, nabob, mandarin, industrialist;
chief, head, leader, boss, principal
North American informal honcho, kahuna, top banana, big enchilada, macher
2.2British A head boy or girl in a school: he did very well academically, becoming school captain
More example sentences
  • Jessye Harris and James Gould will lead the students at Geraldton Grammar School this year as school captains.
  • Fellow year twelve student and school captain Vanessa Sheppard said the students were deeply affected by war.
  • Being a school captain is about more than just wearing a fancy badge.
2.3North American A supervisor of waiters or bellboys.
Example sentences
  • Vance was a busboy, waiter, captain, valet, and a limo driver before joining middle management in the '70s.
  • This training manual covers every aspect of restaurant customer service for the positions of captain, waiter or waitress, and busser.
  • The service team - a captain, waiter, back waiter, and maitre d' dressed in tuxedos - are instructed to do whatever is necessary to make the guests happy.
3(In the US) a police officer in charge of a precinct, ranking below a chief.
Example sentences
  • The police precinct captains could then dispatch patrols, communicate between stations, and control vehicles.
  • So he'd probably told one of the captains to order the police force to work with me without explaining why.
  • We have established a relationship with the captain of the local police station.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
Be the captain of (a ship, aircraft, or sports team): all the boats are captained by professional sailors
More example sentences
  • It is at times the rudder that steadies and guides the ship of state captained by the Government.
  • Two years prior to captaining the college team, Pemlal then only 16 years, was included into the national pool in preparation for the Indian tour.
  • He captained the senior team in the year 1994 and in between those years he turned up to be a fine batsman.
Synonyms
command, skipper, run, be in charge of, have charge of, control, have control of, govern, preside over, direct, rule, manage, supervise, superintend

Origin

late Middle English (in the general sense 'chief or leader'): from Old French capitain (superseding earlier chevetaigne 'chieftain'), from late Latin capitaneus 'chief', from Latin caput, capit- 'head'.

Derivatives

captaincy

1
noun
Example sentences
  • There is a thin line that demarcates Ganguly's great captaincy and an ordinary leadership.
  • I have been trying to find the words to explain to them why leadership is broader than captaincy.
  • In an open team sport such as rugby, captaincy and leadership are different concepts.

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