One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A district or province under the jurisdiction of a captain.
2The position or office of captain.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in John Dee (1527–1609), mathematician, astrologer, and antiquary. From captain + -ate, frequently after forms in other European languages. Compare French capitainat, German † Capitainat both apparently earliest with reference to south-eastern Europe.
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