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cap·i·tal 1  (kp-tl)
a. A town or city that is the official seat of government in a political entity, such as a state or nation.
b. A city that is the center of a specific activity or industry: the financial capital of the world.
a. Wealth in the form of money or property, used or accumulated in a business by a person, partnership, or corporation.
b. Material wealth used or available for use in the production of more wealth.
c. Human resources considered in terms of their contributions to an economy: [The] swift unveiling of his . . . plans provoked a flight of human capital (George F. Will).
3. Accounting The remaining assets of a business after all liabilities have been deducted; net worth.
4. Capital stock.
5. Capitalists considered as a group or class.
6. An asset or advantage: profited from political capital accumulated by others (Michael Mandelbaum).
7. A capital letter.
1. First and foremost; principal: a decision of capital importance.
2. First-rate; excellent: a capital idea.
3. Relating to or being a seat of government.
4. Extremely serious: a capital blunder.
5. Involving death or calling for the death penalty: a capital offense.
6. Of or relating to financial assets, especially being or related to those financial assets that add to the net worth of a business: made capital improvements at the plant site.
7. Relating to or being a capital letter.

[From Middle English, principal, from Old French, from Latin capitlis, from caput, head, money laid out; see kaput- in Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: The term for a town or city that serves as a seat of government is spelled capital. The term for the building in which a legislative assembly meets is spelled capitol.

cap·i·tal 2  (kp-tl)
n. Architecture
The top part of a pillar or column.

[Middle English, from Anglo-Norman, from Late Latin capitellum, diminutive of Latin caput, head; see kaput- in Indo-European roots.]

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