Latin word meaning literally "head" and by metonymy "top",
has been borrowed in a variety of English words, including capital,
captain, and decapitate. The surname Caputo, common in the Campania
region of Italy, comes from the appellation used by some Roman
military generals. A variant form has surfaced more recently in the
title Capo (or Caporegime), the head of La Cosa Nostra. The French
language converted 'caput' into chief, chef, and chapitre, later
borrowed in English as chapter.
The central settlement in an
Anglo-Saxon multiple estate was called a
caput, (short for caput baroniae, see below). The word is also used
for the centre of administration of a hundred.
Caput baroniae is the seat of an English feudal barony. Caput
baronium is the seat of a barony in Scotland.[a]
Caput was also the name of the council or ruling body of the
University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge prior to the constitution of 1856 and remains
the presiding body of the Senate of the University of Dublin.
Caput is also used in medicine to describe any head like protuberance
on an organ or structure, such as the caput humeri.
In music, caput may refer to the
Missa Caput or the plainsong melisma
on which it is based.
In arachnology, the caput or "head" is the cephalic part of a
The German word kaputt ("destroyed"), from which derives the English
colloquialism 'kaput' or 'caput' (meaning done, or finished) is not
related to this word. The origin of the German word, and consequently
the English words is borrowing from the French: être capot,
lit. 'to be bonnet' or fig. 'to be defeated'.
^ baronia, nominative case of a feminine
Latin noun, is correctly
baroniae in the genitive.
Latin Dictionary, revised by Marchant & Charles, 260th
^ Michael Aston, Interpreting the Landscape (Routledge, reprinted
1998, page 34)
^ Chambers, Ephraim, ed. (1728). "CAPUT:
Cyclopædia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences. 1 (first
ed.). James and John Knapton, et al. pp. 156–7.
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