Meaning of caption in English:


Pronunciation /ˈkapʃn/

See synonyms for caption

Translate caption into Spanish


  • 1A title or brief explanation accompanying an illustration, cartoon, or poster.

    ‘he designed a series of posters with the caption: ‘No One is Innocent’’
    • ‘Bournemouth Council now uses cartoon captions on its posters to attract attention.’
    • ‘The captions accompanying posters (which showed streams of bright sunlight through the clouds) were written in mock bible-speak.’
    • ‘Every key work is illustrated and accompanied by an explanatory caption.’
    • ‘The names of persons in the photographs should be clearly labelled on the back along with captions, titles or explanations.’
    • ‘The illustrations are often accompanied by explanatory captions which detail information not found in the text and this makes the book interesting to page through.’
    • ‘Interviews, explanations and captions accompany and illuminate throughout.’
    • ‘Each picture is accompanied by the informative captions describing the history the area covered in this book.’
    • ‘One important artwork that represents that style is highlighted on each poster, along with four smaller reproductions with short explanatory captions and a timeline.’
    • ‘Brief descriptive captions would have enhanced the understanding of the life of the people and perhaps added more understanding to the text of the folktales as well.’
    • ‘The caption to the illustration on page 185 describes Tom Thomson as ‘a distinguished member of the Canadian artists known as the Group of Seven.’’
    • ‘Along with information, the paintings which were on display at the India Habitat Centre on June 21 and 22, were accompanied with captions, anecdotes and even poems.’
    • ‘Their expressive, almost-human faces and brief, tragic captions brought me to tears, and I had to sit down and wipe my eyes.’
    • ‘Maybe it's not so easy writing witty captions to New Yorker cartoons.’
    • ‘The caption over your illustration of the proposed extension to the library at the University of York would surely be more apt if it read 1920s revisited.’
    • ‘When I looked at the cartoon I tried to come up with all the aspects of it; I tried to incorporate the whole cartoon into the little caption.’
    • ‘The caption to the cartoon says, ‘Awkward predicament for you to solve.’’
    • ‘Now he's showing some other older work - similar to the picture above but this other series contrasts images of rich and poor people accompanied by captions written by them.’
    • ‘Each image will be accompanied by a caption and a small digital image of the building as it looks today.’
    • ‘The photographs date from 1895 through 1906; they are accompanied by captions and entries about Chinese American history.’
    • ‘Pain Free in Six Weeks is liberally interspersed with light-hearted illustrations and informative captions.’
    title, heading, wording, head, legend, inscription, explanation, description, rubric, label, motto, slogan
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    1. 1.1A piece of text appearing on a cinema or television screen as part of a film or broadcast.
      ‘the programme has a closing caption thanking the university for its cooperation’
      • ‘The film, punctuated by captions highlighting what the party considers key achievements, wasn't so much about setting out key pledges but setting a tone and feeling for Labour's protagonists.’
      • ‘To judge by the Estonian television captions, the first day of the Leaving Cert was marked by the coming together of two trade unions, EESTI and IIRIMAA.’
      • ‘And on the simplest level, there was a disconcerting clash between the postmodern textuality dispensed by the singers and the humble captions on the screen.’
      • ‘Dear BBC, that's not the best caption to use on screen for the latest information about the Space Shuttle disaster, is it?’
      • ‘However, according to the archived video of the ad linked above, media reports and interviews with a high-level campaign official and political experts, the caption did not appear in the original ad.’
      • ‘It's only in the second third of the film - when the captions disappear and Slim's on the run - that Enough becomes the film it should've been.’
      • ‘For any broadcast program with TV captions, you can immediately reuse them, which is something nobody is doing.’
      • ‘Display text captions with each video stream.’
      • ‘Prior to this weather charts had been presented on screen with captions.’
      • ‘In the first scene of the film a caption informs us that the events take place in ‘Southern Italy, 1978.’’
      • ‘A caption flashes across the screen listing the substitutes for both teams.’
      • ‘A static caption on screen for several minutes on end is unusual today but was a staple of television graphics from the fifties to the early eighties.’
      • ‘The Pentagon became adept at supplying video-game-like pictures of U.S. missile strikes at the same time that it began to provide the large-type captions on TV screens.’
      • ‘The caption, ‘Six Months Later’ appears on the screen for a moment.’
      • ‘Apparently this caption appeared on Sky News last night.’
      • ‘The new version also does not display the lyrics of the national anthem on the screen, ‘because the captions would interfere with the film's visuals,’ Lin said.’
      • ‘First, a note on the film's opening caption, which reads, ‘Based on a true story.’’
      • ‘I started to pay more attention and noticed that they had captions at the top and the bottom of the screen.’
      • ‘By rights, the lower half of the TV screen should then have been filled by a caption reading: ‘CHEERS!’’
      • ‘Remember when newsreaders just read the news, without the caption and the illustration and the crawl at the bottom of the screen?’
    2. 1.2Law The heading of a legal document.
      ‘Deeds, captions on cases, and other legal forms like subpoenas all serve the purpose of giving notice, which is how lawyers and the courts communicate with the public.’
      • ‘The case is notable not for the momentousness of the underlying legal question but for its amusing caption.’
      • ‘Defendants' motion to remove Kama's name from the caption of this case is ALLOWED.’
      • ‘If yes, provide details of each case or proceeding on an attached sheet, including caption, court and index or docket number, the particulars, and the disposition.’


[with object]
  • Provide (an illustration) with a title or explanation.

    with two objects ‘the photograph was captioned ‘Three little maids’’
    • ‘The photographs are carefully captioned, providing simple but interesting details about the plants and creatures.’
    • ‘But the New York Times admired Magnussen's design when it was introduced and captioned its illustration of it ‘The Lights and Shadows of New York.’’
    • ‘Informative text provides a running commentary, and each photo is captioned with historical details.’
    • ‘Apparently bored in a cabinet meeting, he captioned one sketch of John Foster Dulles with the then popular little axiom, ‘Dull, duller, Dulles.’’
    • ‘I went to Yahoo to search for her pic, and a stupid fan of hers (I suppose he is deluded) captioned the photos I found as ‘Very very pretty!’’
    • ‘None of the photographs was captioned or identified in any way, so that they posed, innocently, as a generic representation of Cork and Galway at play on a sunny afternoon.’
    • ‘I don't think the 31 officials were aware that the photographs were incorrectly captioned, I certainly was not.’
    • ‘The painting is captioned with a quote from Nichols, explaining that all nationality disappears as a combatant drowns.’
    • ‘They've been taking similar liberties recently in their entertainment sections, captioning photographs of celebrities with made-up quotes.’
    • ‘The next day, the newspaper captioned his photo, ‘Baby Doll.’’
    • ‘And the few reproduced images are captioned with the name of the copyright holder of the photographic reproduction, but not with the location of the original work.’
    • ‘It wasn't an issue with the robot photos, but some photographs are captioned with quite extraordinary zeal and passion.’
    • ‘The photographs are actually captioned and identify the unfamiliar faces - an unusual courtesy.’
    • ‘Indeed, Natural History wrongly captioned the photo on page 76.’
    • ‘Even more surprising is that some of the illustrations, including Figure 3, are not captioned at all.’
    • ‘He is fiercely protective of his pictures, printing each one himself, handling them with protective gloves, captioning them meticulously while Shelly records them.’
    • ‘Because the stories were laid out and captioned by editors - not photographers - they generally do not reveal the circumstances behind the photos or give the photographer's viewpoint.’
    • ‘Min advised that photos as published were not of this incident and were captioned so.’
    • ‘Now that the contest is under way, every week features three cartoons in various stages of being captioned.’
    • ‘For example, a photograph of an all-female press club board of governors was captioned.’


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘seizing, capture’): from Latin captio(n-), from capere ‘take, seize’. Early senses ‘arrest’ and ‘warrant for arrest’ gave rise to ‘statement of where, when, and by whose authority a warrant was issued’ (late 17th century): this was usually appended to a legal document, hence the sense ‘heading or accompanying wording’ (late 18th century).