Etymology
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capstan (n.)

"upright apparatus on a ship, worked by levers, used for raising weights or applying power," late 14c., from Old French cabestant, from Old Provençal cabestan, from capestre "pulley cord," from Latin capistrum "halter," from capere "to hold, take" (from PIE root *kap- "to grasp").

updated on October 09, 2017

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Definitions of capstan from WordNet

capstan (n.)
a windlass rotated in a horizontal plane around a vertical axis; used on ships for weighing anchor or raising heavy sails;
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.