Etymology
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Words related to capital

cattle (n.)

mid-13c., "property" of any kind, including money, land, income; from Anglo-French catel "property" (Old North French catel, Old French chatel), from Medieval Latin capitale "property, stock," noun use of neuter of Latin adjective capitalis "principal, chief," literally "of the head," from caput (genitive capitis) "head" (from PIE root *kaput- "head"). Compare sense development of fee, pecuniary.

in later Middle English especially "movable property, livestock" (early 14c.), including horses, sheep, asses, etc.; it began to be limited to "cows and bulls" from late 16c.

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fee (n.)

Middle English, representing the merger or mutual influence of two words, one from Old English, one from an Old French form of the same Germanic word, and both ultimately from a PIE root meaning "cattle."

The Old English word is feoh "livestock, cattle; movable property; possessions in livestock, goods, or money; riches, treasure, wealth; money as a medium of exchange or payment," from Proto-Germanic *fehu (source also of Old Saxon fehu, Old High German fihu, German Vieh "cattle," Gothic faihu "money, fortune"). This is from PIE *peku- "cattle" (source also of Sanskrit pasu, Lithuanian pekus "cattle;" Latin pecu "cattle," pecunia "money, property").

The other word is Anglo-French fee, from Old French fieu, a variant of fief "possession, holding, domain; feudal duties, payment" (see fief), which apparently is a Germanic compound in which the first element is cognate with Old English feoh.

Via Anglo-French come the legal senses "estate in land or tenements held on condition of feudal homage; land, property, possession" (c. 1300). Hence fee-simple (late 14c.) "absolute ownership," as opposed to fee-tail (early 15c.) "entailed ownership," inheritance limited to some particular class of heirs (second element from Old French taillir "to cut, to limit").

The feudal sense was extended from landholdings to inheritable offices of service to a feudal lord (late 14c.; in Anglo-French late 13c.), for example forester of fe "a forester by heritable right." As these often were offices of profit, the word came to be used for "remuneration for service in office" (late 14c.), hence, "payment for (any kind of) work or services" (late 14c.). From late 14c. as "a sum paid for a privilege" (originally admission to a guild); early 15c. as "money payment or charge exacted for a licence, etc."

pecuniary (adj.)

c. 1500, "consisting of money;" 1620s, "relating to money," from Latin pecuniarius "pertaining to money," from pecunia "money, property, wealth," from pecu "cattle, flock," from PIE root *peku- "wealth, movable property, livestock" (source of Sanskrit pasu- "cattle," Gothic faihu "money, fortune," Old English feoh "cattle, money").

Livestock was the measure of wealth in the ancient world, and Rome was essentially a farmer's community. That pecunia was literally "wealth in cattle" was still apparent to Cicero. For a possible parallel sense development in Old English, see fee, and compare, evolving in the other direction, cattle. Compare also Welsh tlws "jewel," cognate with Irish tlus "cattle," connected via the notion of "valuable thing," and, perhaps emolument.

An earlier adjective in English was pecunier (early 15c.; mid-14c. in Anglo-French), from Old French; also pecunial (late 14c.).

*kaput- 
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "head."

It forms all or part of: achieve; behead; biceps; cabbage; cabochon; caddie; cadet; cap; cap-a-pie; cape (n.1) "garment;" cape (n.2) "promontory;" capital (adj.); capital (n.3) "head of a column or pillar;" capitate; capitation; capitulate; capitulation; capitulum; capo (n.1) "leader of a Mafia family;" capo (n.2) "pitch-altering device for a stringed instrument;" caprice; capsize; captain; cattle; caudillo; chapter; chef; chief; chieftain; corporal (n.); decapitate; decapitation; forehead; head; hetman; kaput; kerchief; mischief; occipital; precipice; precipitate; precipitation; recapitulate; recapitulation; sinciput; triceps.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit kaput-; Latin caput "head;" Old English heafod, German Haupt, Gothic haubiþ "head."
capitalism (n.)

1854, "condition of having capital;" from capital (n.1) + -ism. Meaning "political/economic system which encourages capitalists" is recorded from 1872, originally used disparagingly by socialists. Meaning "concentration of capital in the hands of a few; the power or influence of large capital" is from 1877.

"Capital" may be most briefly described as wealth producing more wealth; and "capitalism" as the system directing that process. This latter term came into general use during the second half of the 19th century as a word chiefly signifying the world-wide modern system of organizing production and trade by private enterprise free to seek profit and fortune by employing for wages the mass of human labour. There is no satisfactory definition of the term, though nothing is more evident than the thing. [J.L. Garvin, "Capitalism" in Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1929] 
capitalize (v.)
"write or print in capital letters," 1764, from capital (n.1) + -ize. Meaning "to convert (assets) to capital" is recorded from 1868, from capital (n.2). Related: Capitalized; capitalizing.
decapitalize (v.)

"reduce from the rank or position of a capital city," 1870; see de- + capital (n.1) + -ize. As "to remove the financial capital from," by 1913, from capital (n.2). In reference to letters, "to change from upper case to lower case," by 1899. Related: Decapitalized; decapitalization.

capital letter (n.)
late 14c.; see capital (adj.). So called because it is at the "head" of a sentence or word.
Capitol (n.)
"building in Washington, D.C., where U.S. Congress meets," 1793 (in writings of Thomas Jefferson), from Latin Capitolium, name of the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, protector of the city, on the Capitoline Hill in ancient Rome. Used earlier of Virginia state houses (1699). Its use in American public architecture deliberately evokes Roman republican imagery. With reference to the Roman citadel, Capitol is recorded in English from late 14c., via Old North French capitolie. Relationship of Capitoline to capital (adj.) is likely but not certain.
cater (v.)

c. 1600,  "provide food for," from Middle English catour (n.) "buyer of provisions" (c. 1400; late 13c. as a surname), a shortening of Anglo-French achatour "buyer" (Old North French acatour, Old French achatour, 13c., Modern French acheteur), from Old French achater "to buy," originally "to buy provisions," perhaps from Vulgar Latin *accaptare, from Latin ad- "to" (see ad-) + captare "to take, hold," frequentative of capere "to take," from PIE root *kap- "to grasp."

Or else from Vulgar Latin *accapitare "to add to one's capital," with second element from verbal stem of Latin caput (genitive capitis); see capital (adj.). Figuratively, "act as a purveyor," from 1650s. Related: Catered; catering.