cap·sule (kăpsəl, -sl)
1. A small soluble container, usually made of gelatin, that encloses a dose of an oral medicine or a vitamin.
2. Anatomy A fibrous, membranous, or fatty sheath that encloses an organ or part, such as the sac surrounding the kidney or the fibrous tissues that surround a joint.
3. Microbiology A polysaccharide outer shell enveloping certain bacteria.
a. A dry dehiscent fruit that develops from two or more united carpels.
b. The thin-walled, spore-containing structure of mosses and related plants.
5. A space capsule.
6. A brief summary; a condensation.
1. Highly condensed; very brief: a capsule description.
2. Very small; compact.
tr.v. cap·suled, cap·sul·ing, cap·sules
1. To enclose in or furnish with a capsule.
2. To condense or summarize: capsuled the news.
[French, from Latin capsula, diminutive of capsa, box.]
capsu·lar (-sə-lər, -sy-) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.