• capacious •
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.)
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