Word of the Day: Capital and Capital


cap-i-tal  /  kăp-ĭ-tl




  1. first, primary, main

Since the most ancient times, all men, and particularly those who endeavored in the practice of medicine, have brought closer together two natural phenomena of capital importance: illness or fever and fermentation.

Louis Pasteur, 1822 – 1895


  1. excellent, top-notch

When I come upon anything-in Logic or in any other hard subject-that entirely puzzles me, I find it a capital plan to talk it over, aloud, even when I am all alone.

Lewis Carroll, 1832 – 1898


  1. related to being a seat of government

There is no reason, in the capital city of the richest country in the world, for anybody to be hungry.

William E. Conway, Jr., 1949 –


  1. very serious

It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.

Arthur Conan Doyle 1859-1930


  1. involving death or the death penalty

If lying were a capital crime, the hangman would work overtime.

Spanish proverb


  1. involving the financial assets or wealth of

I was originally supposed to become an engineer but the thought of having to expend my creative energy on things that make practical everyday life even more refined, with a loathsome capital gain as the goal, was unbearable to me.

Albert Einstein, 1879 – 1955


  1. involving an uppercase letter

No one thinks about capital letters or punctuation when one texts, but then again, do you think about those things when you talk?

John H. McWhorter,  1965 –




  1. resource, means, principal, wealth

Education is a capital to the poor man, and an interest to the rich man. 

Horace Mann, 1796 – 1859


  1. the investors of a business or venture as a group

Each needs the other: capital cannot do without labor, nor labor without capital.

Pope Leo XIII, 1810 – 1903


  1. an uppercase letter, often used as the first letter of a sentence or in a proper name

Use capitals for proper nouns.  

From “The Rules of Capitalization” https://www.scribendi.com/advice/capitalization.en.html



  1. the city where the rules for a state or county are made; a seat of government

America is a nation with no truly national city, no Paris, no Rome, no London, no city which is at once the social center, the political capital, and the financial hub.

  1. Wright Mills 1916-1962


  1. the top part of a column

If you look at Gothic detailing right down to the bottom of a column or the capital of a column, it’s a small version of the whole building; that’s why, like dating the backbones of a dinosaur, a good historian can look at a detail of a Gothic building and tell you exactly what the rest of the building was, and infer the whole from the parts. 

Charles Jencks, 1939 –



cap-i-tol  /  kăp-ĭ-tl




  1. the building in which the Congress of the United States or a state legislature meets to create laws

We reached Washington at about half-past six that evening, and had upon the way a beautiful view of the Capitol, which is a fine building of the Corinthian order, placed upon a noble and commanding eminence.  From “American Notes for General Circulation” by Charles Dickens, 1812 – 1870