1. A title, short explanation, or description accompanying an illustration or a photograph.
2. A series of words superimposed on the bottom of television or motion picture frames that communicate dialogue to the hearing-impaired or translate foreign dialogue.
3. A title or heading, as of a document or article.
4. Law The heading of a pleading or other document that identifies the parties, court, term, and number of the action.
tr.v. cap·tioned, cap·tion·ing, cap·tions
To furnish a caption for.
[Middle English capcioun, arrest, from Old French capcion, from Latin captiō, captiōn-, from captus, past participle of capere, to seize; see kap- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
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.