General English

  • verb to take someone as a prisoner
  • verb to take something by force, especially in war


  • verb to take or get control of something



  • The acquiring, receiving, absorbing, or attracting and holding of an entity. For instance, the receiving of data, or the acquiring of a neutron by a nucleus.


  • noun an act of taking someone prisoner
  • noun an act of taking possession of something by force
  • verb to take possession of something by force

Origin & History of “capture”

along with its relatives captive, captivity, captivate, and captor, capture is the English language’s most direct lineal descendant of Latin capere ‘take, seize’ (others include capable, case for carrying things, cater, and chase, and heave is distantly connected). first to arrive was captive (14th c.), which was originally a verb, meaning ‘capture’; it came via Old French captiver from Latin captīvus, the past participle of capere. Contemporary in English was the adjectival use of captive, from which the noun developed. (The now archaic caitiff (13th c.) comes from the same ultimate source, via an altered vulgar Latin *cactivus and Old French caitiff ‘captive’.) next on the scene was capture, in the 16th century; originally it was only a noun, and it was not converted to verbal use until the late 18th century, when it replaced captive in this role. also 16th-century is captivate, from the past participle of late Latin captivāre, a derivative of captīvus; this too originally meant ‘capture’, a sense which did not die out until the 19th century: ‘The British … captivated four successive patrols’, John Neal, Brother Jonathan 1825.