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Sep 14, 2018
This week’s theme
Words coined after stock characters

This week’s words
zany
punchinello
alazon
eiron
capitano

capitano
Illustration from I Comici Italiani, 1897

This week’s comments
AWADmail 846

Next week’s theme
Words that have many unrelated meanings
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

capitano

PRONUNCIATION:
(kap-uh-TAH-no)

MEANING:
noun: A swaggering, cowardly person, especially a soldier, policeman, etc.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Capitano, a stock character in commedia dell’arte, from Italian capitano (captain), from Latin caput (head). Earliest documented use: 1594.

USAGE:
“The capitano strode uphill, cloak flowing, minions a respectful distance behind.”
Toby Manning; My Father the Stranger; The Guardian (London, UK); Jan 1, 2011.

See more usage examples of capitano in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Elitism is the slur directed at merit by mediocrity. -Sydney J. Harris, journalist (14 Sep 1917-1986)

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