cap·stan (kăpstən, -stăn′)
1. Nautical An apparatus used for hoisting, consisting of a vertical, manually or mechanically rotated cylinder around which the cable to be pulled runs.
2. A small cylindrical shaft used to drive magnetic tape at a constant speed in a tape recorder.
[Middle English, from Norman French, from Old Provençal cabestan, from cabestre, noose, from Latin capistrum, halter, probably from capere, to seize; see kap- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
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Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
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