ETYM Old Eng. capitain, captain, Old Fren. capitain, French capitaine (cf. Spanish capitan, Italian capitano), Late Lat. capitaneus, capitanus, from Latin caput the head. Related to under Chief, Chieftain.
1. The naval officer in command of a military ship; SYN. skipper.
2. An officer holding a rank below a major but above a lieutenant.
3. The leader of a group of people; SYN. chieftain.
4. The pilot in charge of an airship; SYN. senior pilot.
5. A policeman in charge of a precinct; SYN. police captain, police chief.
6. A diningroom attendant who is in charge of the waiters and the seating of customers; SYN. head waiter, maitre d'hotel.