late 14c., "made prisoner, enslaved," from Latin captivus "caught, taken prisoner," from captus, past participle of capere "to take, hold, seize" (from PIE root *kap- "to grasp"). Captive audience "person or group of people who cannot leave and must stay and listen" is by 1816.
c. 1300, "wicked, base, cowardly," from Old North French caitive "captive, miserable" (Old French chaitif, 12c., Modern French chétif "puny, sickly, poor, weak"), from Latin captivus "caught, taken prisoner," from captus, past participle of capere "to take, hold, seize" (from PIE root *kap- "to grasp"). Its doublet, captive, is a later, scholarly borrowing of the same word. In most Romance languages, it has acquired a pejorative sense (Spanish cautivo, Italian cattivo).
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to grasp."
It forms all or part of: accept; anticipate; anticipation; behave; behoof; behoove; cable; cacciatore; caitiff; capable; capacious; capacity; capias; capiche; capstan; caption; captious; captivate; captive; captor; capture; case (n.2) "receptacle;" catch; catchpoll; cater; chase (n.1) "a hunt;" chase (v.) "to run after, hunt;" chasse; chasseur; conceive; cop (v.) "to seize, catch;" copper (n.2) "policeman;" deceive; emancipate; except; forceps; gaffe; haft; have; hawk (n.); heave; heavy; heft; incapacity; inception; incipient; intercept; intussusception; manciple; municipal; occupy; participation; perceive; precept; prince; purchase; receive; recipe; recover; recuperate; sashay; susceptible.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit kapati "two handfuls;" Greek kaptein "to swallow, gulp down," kope "oar, handle;" Latin capax "able to hold much, broad," capistrum "halter," capere "to grasp, lay hold; be large enough for; comprehend;" Lettish kampiu "seize;" Old Irish cacht "servant-girl," literally "captive;" Welsh caeth "captive, slave;" Gothic haban "have, hold;" Old English hæft "handle," habban "to have, hold."
"take or seize by force or stratagem," 1779, from capture (n.); in chess, checkers, etc., "win by ingenuity or skill," 1819. Related: Captured; capturing. The earlier verb in this sense was captive (early 15c.).
c. 1300, "wicked man, scoundrel," from Anglo-French caitif, noun use of Old North French caitive (Old French chaitif) "captive, miserable" (see caitiff (adj.)). It is attested from mid-14c as "prisoner."
"person confined in a prison, captive person," mid-14c. (earlier "a jailer," mid-13c., but this did not survive Middle English), from Old French prisonier "captive, hostage" (12c., Modern French prisonnier), from prisoun (see prison (n.)) and from Medieval Latin prisonarius.
Figurative sense of "one who is deprived of liberty or kept in restraint" is from late 14c. Captives taken in war have been called prisoners since late 14c., but the phrase prisoner of war dates from 1670s (see also POW). The children's game prisoner's base is attested as such by 1590s (prison base); the logic problem of the prisoner's dilemma is attested by that name from 1957.
early 15c., manumitten, "set (a slave or captive) free," from Latin manumittere "to release from one's power, set at liberty, emancipate," literally "to send from one's 'hand'" (i.e. "control"), from the phrase manu mittere "release from control," from manu, ablative of manus "power of a master," literally "hand" (from PIE root *man- (2) "hand") + mittere "let go, release" (see mission). Related: Manumitted; manumitting. Alternative form manumiss, manumise was sometimes used 16c.-19c.