n. & v.
n. 1 a a soft brimless head-covering, usu. with a peak. b a head-covering worn in a particular profession (nurse's cap). c esp. Brit. a cap awarded as a sign of membership of a sports team. d an academic mortarboard or soft hat. e a special hat as part of Highland costume. 2 a a cover like a cap in shape or position (knee cap; toecap). b a device to seal a bottle or protect the point of a pen, lens of a camera, etc. 3 a = Dutch cap. b = percussion cap. 4 = CROWN n. 9b.
v.tr. (capped, capping) 1 a put a cap on. b cover the top or end of. c set a limit to (rate-capping). 2 a esp. Brit. award a sports cap to. b Sc. & NZ confer a university degree on. 3 a lie on top of; form the cap of. b surpass, excel. c improve on (a story, quotation, etc.) esp. by producing a better or more apposite one. cap in hand humbly. cap of maintenance a cap or hat worn as a symbol of official dignity or carried before the sovereign etc. cap rock a hard rock or stratum overlying a deposit of oil, gas, coal, etc. cap sleeve a sleeve extending only a short distance from the shoulder. if the cap fits (said of a generalized comment) it seems to be true (of a particular person). set one's cap at try to attract as a suitor. capful n. (pl. -fuls). capping n.
[ OE cppe f. LL cappa, perh. f. L caput head ]