Definitions for capstan
ˈkæp stən, -stæncap·stan
This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word capstan.
a windlass rotated in a horizontal plane around a vertical axis; used on ships for weighing anchor or raising heavy sails
A vertical cleated drum or cylinder, revolving on an upright spindle, and surmounted by a drumhead with sockets for bars or levers. It is much used, especially on shipboard, for moving or raising heavy weights or exerting great power by traction upon a rope or cable, passing around the drum. It is operated either by steam power or by a number of men walking around the capstan, each pushing on the end of a lever fixed in its socket.
A rotating spindle used to move recording tape through the mechanism of a tape recorder.
Etymology: cabestan, from cabestrante, cabrestante, from cabestrar to bind with a halter, from cabestrohalter, from capistrum halter, from capere to hold (see capacious); or perhaps the Spanish is from caper goat + -stans, present participle of stare to stand; confer chèvre she-goat, also a machine for raising heavy weights.
Samuel Johnson's Dictionary
A cylinder, with levers to wind up any great weight, particularly to raise the anchors.
Etymology: corruptly called capstern; cabestan, Fr.
The weighing of anchors by the capstan, is also new. Walter Raleigh, Essays.
No more behold thee turn my watch’s key,
As seamen at a capstan anchors weigh. Jonathan Swift.
A capstan is a type of mechanical device used on ships to wind heavy ropes or cables around in order to lift weights or to apply force. It consists of a vertical-axled rotating machine, typically a drum shape, used to apply force to another element or to control or maintain tension during a mechanical process. It can also refer to a similar device used in tape recorders or film projectors to control the speed of the tape or film.
a vertical cleated drum or cylinder, revolving on an upright spindle, and surmounted by a drumhead with sockets for bars or levers. It is much used, especially on shipboard, for moving or raising heavy weights or exerting great power by traction upon a rope or cable, passing around the drum. It is operated either by steam power or by a number of men walking around the capstan, each pushing on the end of a lever fixed in its socket
Etymology: [F. cabestan, fr. Sp. cabestrante, cabrestante, fr. cabestrar to bind with a halter, fr. cabestrohalter, fr. L. capistrum halter, fr. capere to hold (see Capacious); or perh. the Spanish is fr. L. caper goat + stans, p. pr. of stare to stand; cf. F. chvre she-goat, also a machine for raising heavy weights.]
A capstan is a vertical-axled rotating machine developed for use on sailing ships to apply force to ropes, cables, and hawsers. The principle is similar to that of the windlass, which has a horizontal axle.
Chambers 20th Century Dictionary
kap′stan, n. an upright machine turned by spokes so as to wind upon it a cable which draws something, generally the anchor, on board ship. [Fr. cabestan, capestan, through Low L. forms from L. capĕre, to take, hold.]
Dictionary of Nautical Terms
A mechanical arrangement for lifting great weights. There is a variety of capsterns, but they agree in having a horizontal circular head, which has square holes around its edge, and in these long bars are shipped, and are said to be "swifted" when their outer ends are traced together; beneath is a perpendicular barrel, round which is wrapped the rope or chain used to lift the anchor or other great weight, even to the heaving a ship off a shoal. Now, in most ships where a capstern is used to lift the anchor, the chain cable is itself brought to the capstern. The purchase or lifting power is gained by the great sweep of the bars. A perpendicular iron spindle passes through the whole capstern, and is stepped into a socket on the deck below the one on which it stands. In some cases capsterns are double in height, so that bars may be worked on two decks, giving more room for the men.
Military Dictionary and Gazetteer
A strong, massy column of timber, formed somewhat like a truncated cone, and having its upper extremity pierced to receive bars, or levers, for winding a rope round it, to move great weights, or to exert great power; used in moving heavy guns considerable distances; called also a crab.
The numerical value of capstan in Chaldean Numerology is: 7
The numerical value of capstan in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2
Popularity rank by frequency of use
Translations for capstan
From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary
Get even more translations for capstan »
Find a translation for the capstan definition in other languages:
Select another language:
- - Select -
- 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
- 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
- Español (Spanish)
- Esperanto (Esperanto)
- 日本語 (Japanese)
- Português (Portuguese)
- Deutsch (German)
- العربية (Arabic)
- Français (French)
- Русский (Russian)
- ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
- 한국어 (Korean)
- עברית (Hebrew)
- Gaeilge (Irish)
- Українська (Ukrainian)
- اردو (Urdu)
- Magyar (Hungarian)
- मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
- Indonesia (Indonesian)
- Italiano (Italian)
- தமிழ் (Tamil)
- Türkçe (Turkish)
- తెలుగు (Telugu)
- ภาษาไทย (Thai)
- Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
- Čeština (Czech)
- Polski (Polish)
- Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
- Românește (Romanian)
- Nederlands (Dutch)
- Ελληνικά (Greek)
- Latinum (Latin)
- Svenska (Swedish)
- Dansk (Danish)
- Suomi (Finnish)
- فارسی (Persian)
- ייִדיש (Yiddish)
- հայերեն (Armenian)
- Norsk (Norwegian)
- English (English)
Word of the Day
Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?
Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:
"capstan." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 2 Dec. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/capstan>.