First Name
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
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How to Pronounce Captain

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Meaning and Origin

What does the name Captain mean? Find out below.

Origin and Meaning of Captain

User Submitted Meanings

  • A user from Maryland, United States says the name Captain is of English origin and means "Leader".

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
noun Cap"tain
  1. A head, or chief officer
    1. The military officer who commands a company, troop, or battery, or who has the rank entitling him to do so though he may be employed on other service.
    2. An officer in the United States navy, next above a commander and below a commodore, and ranking with a colonel in the army.
    3. By courtesy, an officer actually commanding a vessel, although not having the rank of captain.
    4. The master or commanding officer of a merchant vessel.
    5. One in charge of a portion of a ship's company; as, a captain of a top, captain of a gun, etc.
    6. The foreman of a body of workmen.
    7. A person having authority over others acting in concert; as, the captain of a boat's crew; the captain of a football team.
      "A trainband captain eke was he." [Cowper.]
      "The Rhodian captain, relying on . . . the lightness of his vessel, passed, in open day, through all the guards." [Arbuthnot.]
  2. A military leader; a warrior."Foremost captain of his time." [Tennyson.]

Etymology: OE. capitain captain, OF. capitain, F. capitainecf. Sp. capitan, It. capitano), LL. capitaneus capitanus, fr. L. caput the head. See under Chief, and cf. Chieftain

verb Cap"tain
To act as captain of; to lead.
adjective Cap"tain
Chief; superior.
Other Dictionary Sources
  1. A dining-room attendant who is in charge of the waiters and the seating of customers
  2. The pilot in charge of an airship
  3. The naval officer in command of a military ship
  4. A policeman in charge of a precinct
  5. An officer holding a rank below a major but above a lieutenant
  6. The leader of a group of people ("a captain of industry")
  7. An officer who is licensed to command a merchant ship
  8. Be the captain of a sports team

Borrowing from Old French capitaine, from Late Latin capitāneus, from Latin caput (“head”) (English cap). Doublet of chieftain, also from Old French.

  1. A chief or leader.
  2. The person lawfully in command of a ship or other vessel.
    The is the last man to leave a sinking ship.
  3. An army officer with a rank between the most senior grade of lieutenant and major.
  4. A naval officer with a rank between commander and commodore.
  5. A commissioned officer in the United States Navy, Coast Guard, NOAA Corps, or PHS Corps of a grade superior to a commander and junior to a rear admiral (lower half). A captain is equal in grade or rank to an Army, Marine Corps, or Air Force colonel.
  6. One of the athletes on a sports team who designated to make decisions, and is allowed to speak for his team with a referee or official.
  7. The leader of a group of workers.
    John Henry said to the , "A man ain't nothing but a man."
  8. A maître d'.
  9. (Southern US) An honorific title given to a prominent person. See colonel.
  10. (Internet) Someone who provides contextual information for a post. Originally a shorthand for 'Captain Obvious'.

Notable Persons Named Captain

Captain James Cook was an explorer, navigator, and cartographer. He holds the title Captain and Captain (Royal Navy). Captain was born in 1728 in Marton Yorkshire, England. He breathed his last breath on February 14th, 1779.


Captain Cold is a comics character.


Captain Beefheart was an experimental rock, blues rock, experimental music, free jazz, art rock, spoken word, and psychedelic music musician. He plays Vocals, harmonica, saxophone, clarinet, oboe, french horn, shehnai, recorder, flute, piccolo, trumpet, percussion, and Recorder (musical instrument). He holds the title Electricity", Safe as Milk", Moonlight on Vermont", Pena", Bat Chain Puller", Ice Cream for Crow", and Willie the Pimp". His most notable accomplishments were from 1964 to 1982. Captain was given the name Don Glen Vliet on January 15th, 1941 in Glendale, California, US. Captain is also known as Captain Beefheart and Bloodshot Rollin' Red. He passed away on December 17th, 2010.


Captain Flint is a piracy.


Captain Nemo is a fictional character. Captain is also known as Prince Dakkar.


Captain Phasma is a stormtrooper commander and stormtrooper (star wars).


Notable Persons With the Last Name Captain

Captain is a comics character.


Perin was born on October 12th, 1888 in Mandvi, Kutch District, Gujarat, India. She breathed her last breath in 1958.



Queenie H. C. Captain is a social worker.


Alessio Cassar – Captain is a sports team member for the Qormi F.C.


Chi Chio Chan(3rd captain is an athlete for the National Taiwan Normal University Football Team.


Where is the name Captain popular?

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Popularity of Captain as a last name

The map shows the absolute popularity of the name Captain as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in Michigan, Ohio, or Louisiana.

Common last names for Captain

  • Smith
  • Johnson

Common first names for Captain

Ethnicity Distribution

Ethnicity Captain U.S.
  White 53.27% 64.26%
  African American 28.44% 11.96%
  Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 1.59% 4.85%
  American Indian and Alaska Native 9.65% 0.69%
  Two or More Ethnicities 5.03% 1.76%
  Hispanic or Latino 2.01% 16.26%

Of Last Name Captain

People with the last name Captain are most frequently White or African American

Entire United States

Fun Facts about the name Captain

  • How Popular is the name Captain? Captain is the 21,974th most popular name of all time. As a last name Captain was the 21,811th most popular name in 2010.
  • How many people with the first name Captain have been born in the United States? From 1880 to 2017, the Social Security Administration has recorded 295 babies born with the first name Captain in the United States. That's more than enough people named Captain to occupy the territory of Pitcairn Islands (United Kingdom) with an estimated population of 66 (as of July 1, 2008).
  • What year were 5 or more babies first named Captain? The name was first given to 5 or more babies in the year 1883 when it was given as a first name to 5 new born babies.
  • When was Captain first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the first name Captain is Monday, August 12th, 1872.
  • What year had the most people named Captain born? The highest recorded use of the first name Captain was in 2016 with a total of 31 babies.
  • Random Captain Factoid: According to the 2016 U.S. Social Security Administration data, the first name Captain is not a popular baby boy's name in California. Imagine that, only 9 babies in California have the same name as you in 2016.
  • Weird things about the name Captain: Your name in reverse order is Niatpac. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Icaaptn. How do you pronounce that?
  • How many people have the last name Captain? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 1,192 people with the last name Captain.
  • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of Captain? Chances are, most people haven't met someone with Captain as their last name since less than 1 person in 250k people have that last name. If you know one, consider yourself lucky!

What Captains Have Visited This Page?

Name poster for Captain

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  • Sources:
  • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
  • U.S. Social Security Administration: Popular Baby Names, Death Master File (public domain).
  • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
  • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
  • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
  • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.