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capital letter (n.)

late 14c.; see capital (adj.). So called because it is at the "head" of a sentence or word.

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Definitions of capital letter from WordNet

capital letter (n.)
one of the large alphabetic characters used as the first letter in writing or printing proper names and sometimes for emphasis; "printers once kept the type for capitals and for small letters in separate cases; capitals were kept in the upper half of the type case and so became known as upper-case letters";
Synonyms: capital / uppercase / upper-case letter / majuscule
From wordnet.princeton.edu