Definition of capture in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkaptʃə/


[with object]
1Take into one’s possession or control by force: the island was captured by Australian forces in 1914
More example sentences
  • Ethiopian forces claim to have captured the town for strategic reasons and insist they intend to withdraw later.
  • At sunset, tribal forces claimed to have captured a ridge on the Milawa valley adjacent to the Tora Bora valley.
  • Only a few years later, the idea of a yeast that was out of control would capture the public imagination.
catch, apprehend, seize, arrest;
take prisoner, take captive, take into custody;
imprison, detain, put/throw in jail, put behind bars, put under lock and key, incarcerate;
lay hold of, abduct, carry off, take;
trap, snare, ensnare, net, hook, reel in, land, beach
informal nab, collar, pinch, lift, nail, bust, pick up, bag, run in, haul in, pull in, feel someone's collar
British informal nick
occupy, invade, conquer, seize, take, take over, take possession of, annex, subjugate;
win, gain, secure
1.1(In chess and other board games) make a move that secures the removal of (an opposing piece) from the board: Black cannot capture the knight
More example sentences
  • Finally, a single piece is automatically captured if two opposing pieces of another color move into its triangle.
  • Kevin looked down at the chess game, and made a move capturing a piece.
  • A player could capture an enemy piece by either moving onto the piece or any one of these chits, which captured the piece as of that location.
1.2 Astronomy (Of a star, planet, or other celestial body) bring (a less massive body) permanently within its gravitational influence: Jupiter’s gravity captured a small percentage of these planetesimals
More example sentences
  • Their findings suggest the purported moons arose from collisions or were captured by the planet shortly after the solar system formed.
  • Stuff moving more slowly relative to Earth can be captured by the planet's gravity and survive the plunge.
  • Some small moons orbiting Jupiter, as well as Phobos and Deimos, may have originally been asteroids captured into orbit by the gravity of Mars and Jupiter.
2Record accurately in words or pictures: she did a series of sketches, trying to capture all his moods
More example sentences
  • The Sub-Standard uses words and pictures to capture the essence of London's worst August storms ever.
  • Perhaps, the mad careening way of life might become more reflective as its mood and mode is captured in image and word.
  • The pictures captured the mood or essence of the songs.
express, reproduce, represent, show, encapsulate, record
3Cause (data) to be stored in a computer: these allow users to capture, edit, and display geographic data
More example sentences
  • Version 2.0 allows users to capture customer e-mail stored in corporate mailboxes in addition to submissions from the Web.
  • But then, what if the spyware captures your keystrokes and stores them for later retrieval?
  • These programs are both Windows programs that allow users to capture the USB data that is sent to and received from any USB device on a Windows system.
4 Physics Absorb (an atomic or subatomic particle): the free electrons were moving too rapidly to be captured by nuclei
More example sentences
  • Not until the ambient temperature in the expanding universe had cooled from trillions down to about 3,000 degrees Kelvin did the nuclei capture electrons.
  • Plant chloroplasts normally capture photons to excite electrons to drive photosynthesis.
  • This is the process in which a proton is converted into a neutron by the nucleus capturing a negative electron from one of the inner orbits of its atom.
5(Of a stream) divert the upper course of (another stream) by encroaching on its catchment area.
Example sentences
  • Long ago, another stream captured the headwaters of the Wind Gap stream, leaving the gap high and dry.
  • Whenever one stream captures a portion of the drainage of a neighbouring stream, certain results are produced.
  • Over time, the Barron River 'captured' some of the headwaters of the Mitchell River.


[mass noun]
1The action of capturing or of being captured: the capture of the city he was killed while resisting capture
More example sentences
  • Apparently, the two men killed had attempted to resist capture.
  • Units of the Polish underground Home Army, which had assisted in the city's capture, were arrested and in part deported.
  • The military code of conduct does require that military personnel resist capture.
arrest, apprehension, seizure, being trapped, being taken prisoner, being taken captive, being taken into custody, imprisonment, being imprisoned
informal being nabbed, being collared, being pinched, being lifted
1.1 [count noun] A person or thing that has been captured: figurative the player was a £2,200 capture from another team
More example sentences
  • The Liberal Democrats' success, disguised by strong votes in very safe Labour seats, but exemplified by some astonishing captures from the labour heartland, should be encouraging in one way.
  • Just one exhibition of more than 20 that make up this year's Mois de la Photo, World Press Photo contains no shortage of similarly dismal captures.
  • The captures were effected in March and early April - some 4 months before Abu Ghraib prison was re-opened by the US.


capture someone's imagination (or attention)

Fascinate someone: the project has captured the imagination of the local public
More example sentences
  • Now, the ancient Egyptians have long captured our imagination.
  • A shout in the midst of a normal voice or even a whisper will capture people's attention.
  • In India, too, a comprehensive approach to rainwater harvesting has captured the nation's imagination.



Example sentences
  • Instead of fear she was very angry with her capturers.
  • The capturers left almost no trail for them to follow.
  • But she yelled with no avail, seeming she had no one to hear her, but her capturers.


Mid 16th century (as a noun): from French, from Latin captura, from capt- 'seized, taken', from the verb capere.

Words that rhyme with capture

enrapture, rapture

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cap|ture

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