Main definitions of caper in US English:

: caper1caper2

caper1

verb

  • no object, with adverbial of direction Skip or dance about in a lively or playful way.

    ‘children were capering about the room’
    • ‘The kids stand frozen and slack-jawed, mesmerized by the adults capering around in rented tutus.’
    • ‘They took over a fish and chip shop, where they mugged and capered while the locals waited long-sufferingly for their grub.’
    • ‘There was general merrymaking for a while as the Raiders capered about among the gold and jewels.’
    • ‘The dogs alternately padded alongside Daman or capered with the boy.’
    • ‘Whatever, it set the howler monkeys capering in their giddiest branches, and jabbering almost as much as Jack.’
    • ‘Children capered around in awe of all the soldiers with weapons, and guests and dignitaries kept a respectful silence during the formalities.’
    • ‘It's a cold, overcast morning, but there are about ten dogs capering across the beach off-leash.’
    • ‘The gardener strolled off, his golden gown soon lost in the golden expanse of grass, accompanied by several small animals which capered at his feet, circled his head or hopped off and on his shoulders.’
    • ‘‘In the magical forest lived three fairies,’ I began, walking deeper into the woods while Tamela capered in circles around me.’
    • ‘Dark forms capered amidst the flames, pausing only to hack at the battered forms of those that had tried in vain to defend the fortress.’
    • ‘It was dark by then and a few drunken students were capering about.’
    • ‘He capered and cavorted growing louder by the moment, so that it was a fair bit before the French player's quiet protestations could be heard.’
    • ‘Sandra was now half way to the trunk when my mother hurled the screen door open and came capering up to us, grinning wildly.’
    • ‘Before you quite know what's happening, the burly Warburton has whipped off his shirt and is capering - hairy, barrel chest and all - after his mother.’
    • ‘It doesn't stop him later that evening from capering madly around the stage, all jack-in-a-box bouncing and extravagant semaphore gestures.’
    • ‘Dirty boys capered like shadows at the edge of the performance, aping the musicians' gestures.’
    • ‘When the Mass was over Gnat was capering around the narthex, showing off her happy frilly purple coat.’
    • ‘I see you have Lindo still capering along behind you everywhere you go.’
    • ‘She would have joyously capered in the village streets that were nearby, yet she had never been there.’
    • ‘They hold the foreigners in contempt, calling them aliens and capering about in a pathetic attempt to feel superior.’
    skip, dance, romp, jig, frisk, gambol, cavort, prance, frolic, leap, hop, jump, bound, spring
    View synonyms

noun

  • 1A playful skipping movement.

    ‘she did a little caper’
    • ‘Sienna grabs onto Taranian's shoulder in a bout of joy, and does a caper around her friend, laughing in a barely sane manner.’
    • ‘Frankie did a little caper around the back of the van, on all fours like a demented monkey.’
    • ‘Rupert leaps into the crowd, has a caper around the room and still manages not to miss a beat.’
    dance, skip, hop, leap, jump
    View synonyms
  • 2informal An activity or escapade, typically one that is illicit or ridiculous.

    • ‘The then-executive director of the New Hampshire Republican party and a consultant involved in the scheme are now doing time for their role in the caper.’
    • ‘Women wrestled then befriended adultresses, men abducted brides, light-hearted capers segued into murder.’
    • ‘The New York Times report cleverly tries to insinuate that the caper involved currency speculation, but the truth is more interesting.’
    • ‘So even a film about the best-known caper of the past decade doesn't take the subject head-on.’
    • ‘He said the public need to distinguish between a one-off caper and persistent anti-social behaviour.’
    • ‘Now he may face the full 10 years, plus punishment for the grave-robbing caper.’
    • ‘They spoil everything, from a night out at the pictures to a meticulously-planned caper, involving a rich Aunt and a rubber zombie mask.’
    • ‘The election board and the local Council, with their haphazard and non-accountability attitude, should have stopped this caper when it was first seen years ago.’
    • ‘Their latest caper is a promise to abolish all university tuition fees - while Labour is taking the economically responsible course of putting the fees up!’
    • ‘A guy comes up with a caper, he puts together a team, they plan, and then they pull off the heist.’
    • ‘Tim Gillin writes about the latest caper of Australia's ‘multicultural’ bureaucrats.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, far too many films contain wacky crime capers that lead into shenanigans which gives way to witty, edgy banter.’
    • ‘Thankfully, some of them basically drift away by the end of the film so that we are left with a core group of determined thieves who embark on the caper at the film's climax.’
    • ‘It was freakish to say the least, and even lost me a few readers in the process - but at the same time, this stunt saw the site rapidly acquiring a whole host of new readers who found the whole caper hilarious.’
    • ‘Anyway their latest caper is to offer to purchase LFA (Less Favoured Area) Sheep Quota from any producer willing to sell it.’
    • ‘Their caper involves a nightlong journey of picking up cash all over town in a purloined bank van with Wayne and Henry posing as bank guards assigned to collect all this money.’
    • ‘The 90 minute opener is a caper involving a thoroughbred racehorse, a bunch of knock-off porn videos (also featuring animals), a Greek kebab shop owner and, naturally, wads of cash.’
    • ‘If he escapes, it will be a trick worthy of the swimming-pool caper.’
    • ‘Initially, I'm slightly skeptical about the whole caper.’
    • ‘Police have been brought in to help solve the riddle of who put bloodworms in swimming pools, as authorities conclude the caper may have been an inside job.’
    escapade, stunt, prank, trick, practical joke, antics, high jinks, mischief, game, sport, fun, jest, jesting, jape
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 An amusing or far-fetched story, especially one presented on film or stage.
      ‘a cop caper about intergalactic drug dealers’
      • ‘The artistry of the conman is given an enticing makeover by Sir Ridley Scott in Matchstick Men, an ingenious little crime caper which functions on many levels.’
      • ‘She began writing Cybill Disobedience 10 years ago after the cancellation of Moonlighting, the detective caper co-starring Bruce Willis.’
      • ‘Just don't expect a ‘post-modern’ crime caper in the Quentin Tarantino vein.’
      • ‘Guy Ritchie updated the film by recasting the 1960s blaggers as escapees from a GQ photo-shoot and remoulding the caper to involve a shotgun and an ex-Wimbledon stopper.’
      • ‘He will later this year be seen in a car-chase caper called V for Vendetta, a British ‘bonfire night’ action thriller by the makers of The Matrix.’
      • ‘Take five guys with no brains and a job that's too good to be true and you have the recipe for one of the funniest crime capers in recent years.’
      • ‘This is the task facing Steven Soderbergh and co, as they bring you the sequel to their crime caper, Ocean's 12.’
      • ‘Rockwell, too, is no slouch in the cool stakes, having already teamed up with George Clooney for crime capers, Welcome to Collinwood and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.’
      • ‘It's a safe, unassuming, rather amusing little crime caper.’
      • ‘This fast paced caper is full of twist and turns, sharp cuts and a racy soundtrack.’
      • ‘It's a terrific caper, beautifully acted by Nolte.’
      • ‘Despite similarities with Ritchie's two acclaimed crime capers, Layer Cake is a very different kind of movie.’
      • ‘As he babysits the babes, he tries to mould them into prim and proper ladies in this fish-out-of-water caper as they in turn teach Roland the art of seduction.’
      • ‘There is a mastery at work that elevates it from yet another crime caper to something almost operatic in scope.’
      • ‘The 1947 film noir detective story, now available on DVD, has a lot more potential for interpretation than your average caper, and a look that stands the test of time.’
      • ‘Sidney Lumet's Family Business wants to have its cake and eat it too - is it a crime caper, a genial comedy, or a relational drama?’
      • ‘The script is a simple caper of thwarting the protagonist's attempts to complete a simple task.’
      • ‘Cammell wrote the scripts for two other 1968 films The Touchables and Duffy, a crime caper starring three Jameses - Coburn, Mason and Fox.’
      • ‘A tissue paper thin comedy crime caper, it feels like a million movies I've seen before and not really enjoyed.’
      • ‘No matter how hard you search major American media databases of the last couple of years for mention of the spy caper, you'll come up nearly empty.’

Phrases

  • cut a caper

    • Make a playful skipping movement.

      • ‘After a time, Fun came out of the hole, cut a caper in front of Sulkyface, and gave a peculiar shriek, which forced him to give a momentary smile in spite of himself.’
      • ‘Dressed in white for her next entrance, in ACT III, she smokes a cigarette and laughs at Ariel, who cuts a caper, mincing air with someone's sword.’
      • ‘When he clowned people laughed dutifully, when he cut a caper they applauded reverentially.’
      • ‘He, too, stopped to listen, and he even cut a caper or two in the hope of attracting attention.’
      • ‘The poor little fellow could neither sing nor dance, and had not sufficient breath left to cut a caper or turn a back somersault.’
      • ‘Without another word, Tom flings himself on the old gentleman's neck; throws up his hat; cuts a caper; defies the waiting-maid; and refers her to the butcher.’
      • ‘And the hag, insisting that she felt a child quick within her, begged Bourgeois to feel how the wee jester cut a caper in her belly.’
      • ‘Darlene Enke and Jessica Hanel cut a caper in Threepenny Opera.’
      • ‘Before we know it, the God-fearing Sabah has become a fiddlestick - sipping Chardonnay and cutting a caper across the parks of Toronto for trysts with her new lover.’
      • ‘This is your chance to practice cutting a caper.’

Origin

Late 16th century: abbreviation of capriole.

Pronunciation

caper

/ˈkeɪpər//ˈkāpər/

Main definitions of caper in US English:

: caper1caper2

caper2

noun

  • 1The cooked and pickled flower bud of a prickly southern European shrub, used to flavor food.

    • ‘Mix the tomatoes with the parsley and olives, capers, olive oil, lemon juice and pepper.’
    • ‘Foods associated with Aries are the pungent, spicy plants of Mars - onion, leek, garlic, cayenne, capers and mustard - plus, of course, the sacrificial Sunday roast lamb.’
    • ‘The thick fillet, sprawled on a banana leaf like a centrefold, was served sprinkled with the odd caper, like little khaki army helmets camouflaged under a limp coriander net.’
    • ‘Combine in a frying pan with the olive oil, garlic, fennel seeds, capers, sea salt and pepper, and gently stew for 10 to 15 minutes, without actually ‘frying’ or browning.’
    • ‘Add tomatoes, olives, capers, and thyme; season with salt and white pepper to taste.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a low heat, and add the garlic, capers, chilli or cayenne and anchovy fillets.’
    • ‘Make the stuffing by combining the garlic, parsley, coriander, lemon, capers, breadcrumbs and almonds.’
    • ‘Add garlic, capers and cayenne pepper and sauté for two minutes.’
    • ‘Place the artichokes, walnuts, cheese dice, anchovies, capers, olives and parsley in a bowl.’
    • ‘For the tuna, in a medium bowl, combine the tuna, shallots, onion, capers, the Dijon mustard, and rice wine vinegar, and toss to coat.’
    • ‘There were no capers, no bacon and only three croutons (I should not have to, or be able to, count them).’
    • ‘When fully incorporated, add the capers, parsley, the vinegars and the water.’
    • ‘In a large bowl, lightly mix the olive oil, garlic, chilli, capers, lemon juice, lemon zest, sea salt and pepper.’
    • ‘In a large frying pan, combine the olive oil, diced salmon, lemon zest, capers, parsley, sea salt and pepper and cook gently until the salmon changes colour.’
    • ‘I stand for just a drizzle of olive oil across the top of the sandwich, or a light coating of the transcendent caper vinaigrette.’
    • ‘Remove the potatoes from the oil and in a medium bowl, combine with the bacon, tomatoes, capers, parsley, tarragon, and cilantro.’
    • ‘Add the garlic, olives, capers, chopped basil and lemon zest.’
    • ‘I look at a Puttanesca recipe, and I think to myself ‘olive oil, Chili pepper flakes, anchovies, Tomatoes, capers, kalamata olives’.’
    • ‘They go well with the strong Mediterranean flavours of anchovy, garlic, capers, extra virgin olive oil, rosemary and oregano, and Greek cheeses such as feta and halloumi.’
    • ‘Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the garlic, chilli, capers and white wine; cook for 1 minute, stirring.’
  • 2The shrub from which capers are taken.

    Capparis spinosa, family Capparidaceae

    • ‘They lay their eggs on plants in the caper family, like the wild passion fruit bush.’
    • ‘Avinoam Danin, a botanist from Hebrew University of Jerusalem claims he has identified pollen from the tumbleweed Gundelia tournefortii and a bean caper on the shroud.’
    • ‘A caper is a biennial spiny shrub that bears a fleshy rounded leaves and big white/pink flowers’

Origin

Late Middle English: from French câpres or Latin capparis, from Greek kapparis; later interpreted as plural, hence the loss of the final -s in the 16th century.

Pronunciation

caper

/ˈkeɪpər//ˈkāpər/