Printable Version
Pronunciation: kê-pay-shês Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: Having a large capacity, spacious, roomy, as 'a capacious cellar'.

Notes: Although related to capacity, the only noun that works with today's Good Word is capaciousness. Capacity is a neutral term; capaciousness means "having much capacity". The adverb is capaciously. Remember that, even though this word is borrowed from Latin, the [sh] sound in this word is spelled CI, and not TI.

In Play: Any time you want a more eloquent way of saying "roomy" or "spacious", this is the word for you: "I think I'll need a dress that is a bit more capacious than this one." Anywhere capacity is in question, this word will fit the conversation: "We need closets that are much more capacious than those in this house."

Word History: Today's word was at home in Latin as capax (capac-s) "capacious", derived from capere "to take, hold". Latin obtained this word from Proto-Indo-European kap- "to grasp". This word turns up in many words English borrowed from Latin, including capable "having a capacity to do something", capture, and cacciatore, as in chicken cacciatore "chicken à la hunter" in Italian. This PIE word also descended to English via its parental tree from Old Germanic. The Germanic languages interpreted PIE [k] as [h], so we are not surprised that this same root came to English as have and hefty. (Let's now thank Diane Lyons for sharing this Good Word from her capacious vocabulary today.)

Dr. Goodword,

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