1856, "put a cap again on" something, originally typically a cartridge, from re- "again" + cap (v.). The specific sense of "put a strip of rubber on the tread of a tire" is from 1920s; hence, as a noun, "a recapped auto tire" (1939). As a shortened form of recapitulate (v.), it dates from 1920s. Related: Recapped; recapping.
Entries linking to recap
word-forming element meaning "back, back from, back to the original place;" also "again, anew, once more," also conveying the notion of "undoing" or "backward," etc. (see sense evolution below), c. 1200, from Old French re- and directly from Latin re- an inseparable prefix meaning "again; back; anew, against."
Watkins (2000) describes this as a "Latin combining form conceivably from Indo-European *wret-, metathetical variant of *wert- "to turn." De Vaan says the "only acceptable etymology" for it is a 2004 explanation which reconstructs a root in PIE *ure "back."
In earliest Latin the prefix became red- before vowels and h-, a form preserved in redact, redeem, redolent, redundant, redintegrate, and, in disguise, render (v.). In some English words from French and Italian re- appears as ra- and the following consonant is often doubled (see rally (v.1)).
The many meanings in the notion of "back" give re- its broad sense-range: "a turning back; opposition; restoration to a former state; "transition to an opposite state." From the extended senses in "again," re- becomes "repetition of an action," and in this sense it is extremely common as a formative element in English, applicable to any verb. OED writes that it is "impossible to attempt a complete record of all the forms resulting from its use," and adds that "The number of these is practically infinite ...."
Often merely intensive, and in many of the older borrowings from French and Latin the precise sense of re- is forgotten, lost in secondary senses, or weakened beyond recognition, so that it has no apparent semantic content (receive, recommend, recover, reduce, recreate, refer, religion, remain, request, require). There seem to have been more such words in Middle English than after, e.g. recomfort (v.) "to comfort, console; encourage;" recourse (n.) "a process, way, course." Recover in Middle English also could mean "obtain, win" (happiness, a kingdom, etc.) with no notion of getting something back, also "gain the upper hand, overcome; arrive at;" also consider the legal sense of recovery as "obtain (property) by judgment or legal proceedings."
And, due to sound changes and accent shifts, re- sometimes entirely loses its identity as a prefix (rebel, relic, remnant, restive, rest (n.2) "remainder," rally (v.1) "bring together"). In a few words it is reduced to r-, as in ransom (a doublet of redemption), rampart, etc.
It was used from Middle English in forming words from Germanic as well as Latin elements (rebuild, refill, reset, rewrite), and was used so even in Old French (regret, regard, reward, etc.).
Prefixed to a word beginning with e, re- is separated by a hyphen, as re-establish, re-estate, re-edify, etc. ; or else the second e has a dieresis over it: as, reëstablish, reëmbark, etc. The hyphen is also sometimes used to bring out emphatically the sense of repetition or iteration : as, sung and re-sung. The dieresis is not used over other vowels than e when re is prefixed : thus, reinforce, reunite, reabolish. [Century Dictionary, 1895]
c. 1400, "to put a cap on," from cap (n.); the meaning "cover as with a cap" is from c. 1600. The figurative sense of "complete, consummate, bring to a climax" is from 1580s; that of "go one better, outdo, excel" is by 1821. Related: Capped; capping. To cap verses (1610s) was "to quote alternately verses each beginning with the same letter with which the last ended."
The capping of Latin verses is a common game in classical schools. No verse may be used twice, and no hesitation or delay is permitted; so that a moderate proficiency in the game supposes several thousand verses arranged in the memory alphabetically. [Century Dictionary, 1895]
"repeat the principal things mentioned in a preceding discourse," 1560s, back-formation from recapitulation (q.v.) and also from Late Latin recapitulatus, past participle of recapitulare "go over the main points of a thing again," literally "restate by heads or chapters." Related: Recapitulated; recapitulating; recapitulative. As an adjective, Faulkner uses recapitulant.
Recapitulate is a precise word, applying to the formal or exact naming of points that have been with some exactness named before : as, it is often well after an extended argument, to recapitulate the heads. In this it differs from repeat, recite, rehearse, which are freer in their use. To reiterate is to say a thing a second time or oftener. [Century Dictionary]
That English keeps the proper classical sense in this word but gives simple capitulate only a restricted or extended sense is a curiosity that has been noted by Trench, G. Saintsbury ("Minor Poets of the Caroline Period"), etc.
updated on May 18, 2021
Dictionary entries near recap