From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Capital \Cap"i*tal\, a. [F. capital, L. capitalis capital (in
   senses 1 & 2), fr. caput head. See Chief, and cf.
   Capital, n.]
   1. Of or pertaining to the head. [Obs.]
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            Needs must the Serpent now his capital bruise
            Expect with mortal pain.              --Milton.
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   2. Having reference to, or involving, the forfeiture of the
      head or life; affecting life; punishable with death; as,
      capital trials; capital punishment.
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            Many crimes that are capital among us. --Swift.
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            To put to death a capital offender.   --Milton.
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   3. First in importance; chief; principal.
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            A capital article in religion         --Atterbury.
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            Whatever is capital and essential in Christianity.
                                                  --I. Taylor.
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   4. Chief, in a political sense, as being the seat of the
      general government of a state or nation; as, Washington
      and Paris are capital cities.
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   5. Of first rate quality; excellent; as, a capital speech or
      song. [Colloq.]
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   Capital letter [F, lettre capitale] (Print.), a leading or
      heading letter, used at the beginning of a sentence and as
      the first letter of certain words, distinguished, for the
      most part, both by different form and larger size, from
      the small (lower-case) letters, which form the greater
      part of common print or writing.

   Small capital letters have the form of capital letters and
      height of the body of the lower-case letters.

   Capital stock, money, property, or stock invested in any
      business, or the enterprise of any corporation or
      institution. --Abbott.

   Syn: Chief; leading; controlling; prominent.
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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

capital \cap"i*tal\ (k[a^]p"[i^]*tal), n. [Cf. L. capitellum and
   capitulum, a small head, the head, top, or capital of a
   column, dim. of caput head; F. chapiteau, OF. capitel. See
   chief, and cf. cattle, chattel, chapiter, chapter.]
   1. (Arch.) The head or uppermost member of a column,
      pilaster, etc. It consists generally of three parts,
      abacus, bell (or vase), and necking. See these terms, and
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   2. [Cf. F. capilate, fem., sc. ville.] (Geog.) The seat of
      government; the chief city or town in a country; a
      metropolis. "A busy and splendid capital" --Macauly.
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   3. [Cf. F. capital.] Money, property, or stock employed in
      trade, manufactures, etc.; the sum invested or lent, as
      distinguished from the income or interest. See {Capital
      stock}, under Capital, a.
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   4. (Polit. Econ.) That portion of the produce of industry,
      which may be directly employed either to support human
      beings or to assist in production. --M'Culloch.
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   Note: When wealth is used to assist production it is called
         capital. The capital of a civilized community includes
         fixed capital (i.e. buildings, machines, and roads
         used in the course of production and exchange) and
         circulating capital (i.e., food, fuel, money, etc.,
         spent in the course of production and exchange). --T.
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   5. Anything which can be used to increase one's power or
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            He tried to make capital out of his rival's
            discomfiture.                         --London
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   6. (Fort.) An imaginary line dividing a bastion, ravelin, or
      other work, into two equal parts.
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   7. A chapter, or section, of a book. [Obs.]
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            Holy St. Bernard hath said in the 59th capital.
                                                  --Sir W.
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   8. (Print.) See Capital letter, under Capital, a.
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   Active capital. See under Active,

   Small capital (Print.), a small capital letter; informally
      referred to (in the plural) as small caps; as, the
      technical terms are listed in small caps. See under
      Capital, a.

   To live on one's capital, to consume one's capital without
      producing or accumulating anything to replace it.
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