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Definition of "capstan" [cap•stan]

  • Nautical An apparatus used for hoisting weights, consisting of a vertical spool-shaped cylinder that is rotated manually or by machine and around which a cable is wound. (noun)
  • A small cylindrical shaft used to drive magnetic tape at a constant speed in a tape recorder. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "capstan" in a sentence
  • "Aside from a large winch, called a capstan, and various blocks and pulleys to take off some of the strain, eighteenth-century sailing ships relied on brute man power."
  • "The sailors had tied their prisoner with ropes to the heavy iron wheel in the stern of the boat called a capstan; so that as he moved he would be obliged to drag it round and thus help to work the ship."
  • "The best, like all good things, has gone for ever, and this best way was for a thing called a capstan to have sticking out from it, movable, and fitted into its upper rim, other things called capstan -- bars."
Words like "capstan"