- noun a spindle of a tape player or tape backup unit that keeps the tape pressed against the magnetic read/write head or pinch roller
- On a magnetic tape drive, such as that in a tape deck or computer tape drive, a motorized rotating shaft which moves the tape at a constant speed.
Origin & History of “capstan”
Capstan is a borrowing from Old Provençal. there the word was cabestan. Its earlier form capestran was a derivative of capestre ‘rope, noose’, which came from Latin capistrum ‘halter’. this in turn came from capere ‘take’, a prolific source of English words, and related to English heave.