Definition of capture in English:



[with object]
  • 1Take into one's possession or control by force.

    ‘the island was captured by Australian forces in 1914’
    • ‘Yet, the rebels say this is wishful thinking and that their weapons are captured from government forces.’
    • ‘Only a few years later, the idea of a yeast that was out of control would capture the public imagination.’
    • ‘In other words, by the end of the 11 th century the forces of Islam had captured two-thirds of the Christian world.’
    • ‘The Jerusalem Post is reporting that American forces have captured an installation used to manufacture chemical weapons.’
    • ‘More disturbing was the reportage from places captured by the coalition forces.’
    • ‘At sunset, tribal forces claimed to have captured a ridge on the Milawa valley adjacent to the Tora Bora valley.’
    • ‘A couple of weeks later another small force were captured off Lough Swilly when their ships were surrounded by a British squadron before they even got to land.’
    • ‘Sir Thomas Fairfax's wife is said to have been captured by Royalist forces in 1643 on the spot where it now stands.’
    • ‘Palau was occupied by Japan during World War I and remained under Japanese control until 1944, when it was captured by Allied forces.’
    • ‘So the information referred to above presumably came from documents or other materials that were in his possession when he was captured.’
    • ‘They captured teenage girls and forced them into temporary marriages with ‘the holy warriors.’’
    • ‘In 1917, during World War I, Jerusalem was captured by British forces under Gen. Edmund Allenby.’
    • ‘In the past two days, U.S. forces say they've captured some 200 suspected insurgents.’
    • ‘In 1782, Spain captured Minorca from British forces.’
    • ‘At the end of the war in Europe, they were among the mass of German papers captured by advancing Soviet forces when they took Berlin.’
    • ‘Soldiers are accused of using unprovoked deadly force in capturing civilians, some of whom were then allegedly subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment leading to deaths in custody.’
    • ‘Ethiopian forces claim to have captured the town for strategic reasons and insist they intend to withdraw later.’
    • ‘The French controlled the island until British forces captured it in 1762.’
    • ‘Greek special forces have captured a freighter carrying 680 tons of explosives, along with detonators and fuses, bound for North Africa.’
    • ‘The paper said security forces were unable to capture the assailants but managed to recover abandoned weapons and military uniforms.’
    catch, apprehend, seize, arrest
    occupy, invade, conquer, seize, take, take over, take possession of, annex, subjugate
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    1. 1.1 (in chess and other board games) make a move that secures the removal of (an opposing piece) from the board.
      ‘Black cannot capture the knight’
      • ‘Arduus weighed his options - he could easily capture the piece with his, but the game would end in a tie, and he hated loose ends.’
      • ‘Kevin looked down at the chess game, and made a move capturing a piece.’
      • ‘Just as no player can capture the other side's king without sacrificing some important pieces, she is willing to give things up for chess glory.’
      • ‘In times gone by, when an opponent sacrificed a piece to launch an attack, it was considered dishonorable not to capture the sacrificed piece.’
      • ‘Finally, a single piece is automatically captured if two opposing pieces of another color move into its triangle.’
      • ‘A player could capture an enemy piece by either moving onto the piece or any one of these chits, which captured the piece as of that location.’
      • ‘Although the check has been blocked, the rook is completely undefended and the White queen can immediately capture this valuable piece.’
      • ‘After some deliberation, he moved his queen diagonally across the board, capturing Adam's remaining knight.’
      • ‘And the white King cannot capture this new piece, because it's a piece of his own color!’
      • ‘Jerome rubbed his chin, and after a few minutes of thought, moved his knight, capturing Adam's last bishop.’
      • ‘Balls that are jumped or isolated due to the removal of disks are captured but capturing the right colored balls is the key to winning.’
    2. 1.2Astronomy (of a star, planet, or other celestial body) bring (a less massive body) permanently within its gravitational influence.
      ‘Jupiter's gravity captured a small percentage of these planetesimals’
      • ‘Some small moons orbiting Jupiter, as well as Phobos and Deimos, may have originally been asteroids captured into orbit by the gravity of Mars and Jupiter.’
      • ‘Their findings suggest the purported moons arose from collisions or were captured by the planet shortly after the solar system formed.’
      • ‘Instead of orbiting the Sun, like most comets, however, this one had been captured by Jupiter's gravity and the rocky fragments now orbited the King of Planets itself.’
      • ‘After 398 million km, the spacecraft fired its engines and slowed down enough to be captured by the Martian gravity.’
      • ‘Stuff moving more slowly relative to Earth can be captured by the planet's gravity and survive the plunge.’
  • 2Record accurately in words or pictures.

    ‘she did a series of sketches, trying to capture all his moods’
    • ‘Even Jerly's pictures captured the beauty of the river, in its varied expressions.’
    • ‘Simon's winning portfolio of ten pictures included striking images capturing some of the major events of the last year and the diversity of life in Yorkshire.’
    • ‘The pictures captured the mood or essence of the songs.’
    • ‘Don's picture captures the listless, boarded-up feel of the place better than mine does, but I fell too much in love with the lifts and wanted to make them look beautiful.’
    • ‘If they have a favourite place or have a picture that they think captures the area we would like to see it and they could win a prize.’
    • ‘The film's dialogue is minimal and often earthy but it accurately captures the rebellious mood of the youth.’
    • ‘The exhibition through these pictures captures the pain and joy of the unification of North and South Vietnam that took place formally on July 2, 1976.’
    • ‘If you think words can't capture your emotions then you can record your voice and e-mail it.’
    • ‘The acting in Candida is realistic and accurately captures the trials and tribulations of courtship.’
    • ‘Like most of my sister's stories, it provoked a startling mental picture, capturing a moment in time when one's actions seem both unimaginably cruel and completely natural.’
    • ‘Perhaps, the mad careening way of life might become more reflective as its mood and mode is captured in image and word.’
    • ‘Like Tryon's French scene, DeCora's picture is designed to capture a mood rather than illustrate an event.’
    • ‘Right away what appeals to you about director Rakeysh Mehra's new film is the fact that it so accurately captures the spirit and mood of the current generation.’
    • ‘Russell Crowe may have turned in a virtuoso performance, accurately capturing the confusion and paranoia of being in mental turmoil, but let's face it, so what.’
    • ‘The different meaning of these two words captures something of America's view of itself.’
    • ‘National Geographic has found the girl who posed for this haunting picture that so perfectly captures the horror of war.’
    • ‘Indeed, his pictures capture a horror that goes beyond verbal expression.’
    • ‘The portrayal of a 13-year old girl is remarkable for the textures captured in her silk dress and her hair while, despite the formal pose, the picture captures a childish awkwardness.’
    • ‘The Sub-Standard uses words and pictures to capture the essence of London's worst August storms ever.’
    • ‘So have you got any pictures capturing life in Bury in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries?’
    express, reproduce, represent, show, encapsulate, record
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  • 3Cause (data) to be stored in a computer.

    ‘these allow users to capture, edit, and display geographic data’
    • ‘By electronically capturing the details of each purchase, they capture not just sales totals, but information on what has been removed from goods on hand.’
    • ‘But then, what if the spyware captures your keystrokes and stores them for later retrieval?’
    • ‘These programs are both Windows programs that allow users to capture the USB data that is sent to and received from any USB device on a Windows system.’
    • ‘Version 2.0 allows users to capture customer e-mail stored in corporate mailboxes in addition to submissions from the Web.’
    • ‘The reason I bought the USB instant video is that it is the only alternative for notebook computer users to capture analog video.’
    feed in, put in, load, insert
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  • 4Physics
    Absorb (an atomic or subatomic particle)

    ‘the free electrons were moving too rapidly to be captured by nuclei’
    • ‘Not until the ambient temperature in the expanding universe had cooled from trillions down to about 3,000 degrees Kelvin did the nuclei capture electrons.’
    • ‘This is the process in which a proton is converted into a neutron by the nucleus capturing a negative electron from one of the inner orbits of its atom.’
    • ‘Plant chloroplasts normally capture photons to excite electrons to drive photosynthesis.’
    • ‘As the universe expanded the nuclei captured electrons to form a cool gas of neutral atoms.’
    • ‘Sensitive detectors can track the alpha particles produced and capture the two photons that are produced when the pion subsequently decays.’
  • 5(of a stream) divert the upper course of (another stream) by encroaching on its catchment area.

    • ‘Over time, the Barron River 'captured' some of the headwaters of the Mitchell River.’
    • ‘Long ago, another stream captured the headwaters of the Wind Gap stream, leaving the gap high and dry.’
    • ‘Whenever one stream captures a portion of the drainage of a neighbouring stream, certain results are produced.’


mass noun
  • 1The action of capturing or of being captured.

    ‘the capture of the city’
    ‘he was killed while resisting capture’
    • ‘The FBI has a $25 million reward for information leading to his capture or arrest.’
    • ‘The number of animals accidentally killed during capture remains unknown.’
    • ‘For several years I wondered whether the ring hit some unfortunate Parisian out for a late afternoon stroll, but finally decided I was safe from capture and arrest.’
    • ‘The military code of conduct does require that military personnel resist capture.’
    • ‘Methods of capture are often violent and many animals are accidentally killed in the process or die in transport.’
    • ‘In exemplary fashion, he resisted every effort by the enemy to make his capture and imprisonment work to their advantage.’
    • ‘Booth, killed as he fled capture, had imagined history would hail him.’
    • ‘I sat down on the hedge and thought: could I hope to run, could I hope to evade capture and imprisonment or worse - what options lay open?’
    • ‘Many were shot down or simply disappeared, bringing capture, imprisonment, and death to the crews.’
    • ‘During the intense gunbattle that followed, three insurgents detonated explosives and killed themselves to avoid capture.’
    • ‘Units of the Polish underground Home Army, which had assisted in the city's capture, were arrested and in part deported.’
    • ‘This would spread fear through the region, making capture of further cities easier.’
    • ‘The city inched rather than slid towards capture and after a while the shelling all but paralysed our movement.’
    • ‘Apparently, the two men killed had attempted to resist capture.’
    • ‘That's why this arrest and this capture is so doggone important.’
    • ‘The capture of Mexico City did not immediately end the war.’
    • ‘For all she knew, they could have been enslaved or killed after their capture, and here she was in chains, unable to make a move to help.’
    • ‘The opposition is closed down by capture, arrest, and prison.’
    • ‘For a power so concerned with the stylish symbolism of that city's capture, this was no mere practical measure.’
    • ‘Stalingrad was a large industrial city at the apex of this line and its speedy capture was essential for the success of the whole German campaign.’
    arrest, apprehension, seizure, being trapped, being taken prisoner, being taken captive, being taken into custody, imprisonment, being imprisoned
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    1. 1.1count noun A person or thing that has been captured.
      ‘a bounty hunter who always brings his captures in alive’
      • ‘The result, a 13 percent decline in illegal alien captures in Arizona.’
      • ‘We also included data from some additional captures in areas immediately adjacent to the YSG plot.’
      • ‘The IDF later announced that there had been no captures, though its soldiers remained in and around Nablus and the adjacent refugee camps.’
      • ‘Just one exhibition of more than 20 that make up this year's Mois de la Photo, World Press Photo contains no shortage of similarly dismal captures.’
      • ‘The Liberal Democrats' success, disguised by strong votes in very safe Labour seats, but exemplified by some astonishing captures from the labour heartland, should be encouraging in one way.’
      • ‘Also, although I know nothing about the linked pet store, it's very important to be aware of the source of pet-store birds - you don't want captures.’
      • ‘The biggest was 6lb 4oz but they were both accidental captures when pike fishing - these were the first zander that I had caught by design so I was very pleased.’
      • ‘His captures were mostly alive when he brought them into the house and we would have to rescue them, lock him in a room for an hour or so and take them back outside.’
      • ‘With no real pattern to captures dropping on a shoal may require some luck but an evening stroll along the river, when the fish may give away their presence by rolling, might pay dividends.’
      • ‘This assumption often is true, but for locations such as the Gulf Coast in spring, where birds may continue to arrive all day, the method of analyzing first captures is not suitable.’
      • ‘He discounted arguments that the secrecy would withhold news of the captures from other terrorists.’
      • ‘He had twenty registered captures in those three years while teamed with a partner.’
      • ‘The captures were effected in March and early April - some 4 months before Abu Ghraib prison was re-opened by the US.’
      • ‘Similar captures have been reported from other waters such as Damph and Shiel over the last few years.’
      • ‘The capture of these key members has led to additional captures throughout the Mosul-based AQ-AMZ network.’
      • ‘The decrease in the number of fall captures could reflect natural mortality of overwintering adults and losses due to two prior removal-trapping sessions.’
      • ‘In general, a clear pattern of low captures of local individuals early in the season followed by a brief drop in capture totals then an increasing pulse of migrants was evident in these plots.’
      • ‘But he declined to make any new predictions of captures.’
      • ‘For captures of 100 or more flies, numbers were estimated by weight.’
      • ‘We're up to 699 captures because we don't trace calls and tap calls and a lot of people are afraid to call the police.’


  • capture someone's imagination (or attention)

    • Fascinate someone.

      ‘the project has captured the imagination of the local public’
      • ‘In India, too, a comprehensive approach to rainwater harvesting has captured the nation's imagination.’
      • ‘Wilkins captures our attention by provoking combinations of topics or case examples throughout the book.’
      • ‘We need to try harder to capture people's imaginations, whilst meeting their needs.’
      • ‘Open with something interesting to capture the audiences' attention right from the start.’
      • ‘Traditional poetry simply captures our imagination more easily than formless "free" verse.’
      • ‘A shout in the midst of a normal voice or even a whisper will capture people's attention.’
      • ‘The aim of advertising boards is to capture one's attention.’
      • ‘Now, the ancient Egyptians have long captured our imagination.’
      • ‘It took a second query from Jack to capture his attention.’
      • ‘For the past six weeks, the conflict in the Middle East has captured the world's attention.’


Mid 16th century (as a noun): from French, from Latin captura, from capt- ‘seized, taken’, from the verb capere.