Main definitions of capo in English

: capo1capo2

capo1

(also capo tasto)

noun

  • A clamp fastened across all the strings of a fretted musical instrument to raise their tuning by a chosen amount.

    • ‘It can be silly things, like we'll use a capo and drop D, tune the string down to make a chord, rather than just play the chord normally.’
    • ‘He was obviously nervous, hands shaking as he put on the capo.’
    • ‘I have an open-tuned bouzouki, borrowed from a friend, and a capo, so in theory I can play in any key.’
    • ‘When it turned out that Ahuja had forgotten her capo, Osborne kindly ran backstage to get her one.’
    • ‘‘Temporary’ should come included with stool and capo, with its murky chord progression and mumbled, depressive vocals.’
    • ‘Tuners, capos, pics, guitar straps and a set of extra strings are all handy toys.’
    • ‘I bet you didn't know Pat Metheny used a capo did you?’
    • ‘Unfulfilled, unfortunately, and someone had apparently moved the capo.’
    • ‘Rock players usually have a facility with bar chords and don't need a capo.’
    • ‘With Tielli if he screws up, he stops, laughs and starts again - as he did when he forgot his capo and had to borrow one from Wayne Omaha guitarist-vocalist Matt James.’
    brace, vice, press
    View synonyms

Origin

Late 19th century: from Italian capo tasto, literally head stop.

Main definitions of capo in English

: capo1capo2

capo2

noun

North American
  • The head of a crime syndicate, especially the Mafia, or a branch of one.

    • ‘The Feds say Napolitano was killed in retribution for his ties to Pistone - and they have a ‘high-ranking’ witness who has linked Massino and acting capo Frank Lino to the crime.’
    • ‘Giacomo is both capo, boss, and capofamiglia, head of the family.’
    • ‘On FBI tapes, Gambino capo DePalma claims the mob controls this union.’
    • ‘Back in New York, Tony Sirico, he plays Paulie Walnuts, a Sopranos family capo who's in trouble with Russian Mafia.’
    • ‘Season 4 begins with him confronting his ill-performing capos.’
    • ‘Brazzi should surely be a capo, not an employee, and the Five Families think the Corleones want to off him because they have their eye on his lucrative Olive Oil business.’
    • ‘Organised crime is all around, even if it's no longer at the scale when Richie ‘the Boot’ Boiardo - a capo or captain for the famed Genovese family - lived out in Livingston.’
    • ‘He extracted a guilty plea from Mafia capo John Gambino.’
    • ‘However, al Qaeda is not like the Gambino crime family where if you eliminate the various capos and lieutenants of the organization it eventually goes out of business.’
    • ‘In Queens, New York, two weeks of digging an alleged mafia bone yard has led to two capos of the Bonanno crime family.’
    • ‘Tony Soprano is no Kurtz or Keyser Soze, although his capos - Silvio and Paulie Walnuts - do occasionally compare him with Napoleon.’
    • ‘A Genovese crime family capo known as ‘Sammy Meatballs’ was overheard talking about the union.’
    • ‘No, we're not talking James Gandolfini, who returns to the premium channel as capo during the third season of the mob dramedy The Sopranos, which premieres with back-to-back new episodes March 4, but another Jersey guy.’
    • ‘Vinnie, Tony, Little Dominic, Charlie, and the big man himself, the capo, Frankie Pero… they didn't quite become firm friends, though he has written to them since his return to Ireland.’
    • ‘This is the time for the extended family to come together, to pay its respects to the dons and capos, and a time for people who want to be associated with the family to come and be introduced.’
    • ‘Or because we tend to think of the politicians and the presidency as occupying a parallel world - Mafia dons and capos dispatching one another in a turf war.’
    • ‘It was the prosecution of a Gambino crime family capo and his crew for narcotics trafficking, murder, racketeering, jury tampering and other charges.’
    • ‘But as a don, he has no choice but to protect his capos.’
    • ‘A 400-pound capo doesn't vanish into thin air.’
    • ‘Harvey Keitel plays Charlie, the wiseguy dandy, a Catholic uneasily preoccupied by eternal damnation, but employed as a novice enforcer by his Uncle, a capo from the old country.’

Origin

1950s: from Italian, from Latin caput head.