UK:*UK and possibly other pronunciationsUK and possibly other pronunciations/ˈkæpstən/US:USA pronunciation: IPA and respellingUSA pronuncation: IPA/ˈkæpstən, -stæn/ ,USA pronunciation: respelling(kapstən, -stan)

WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2020
cap•stan /ˈkæpstən, -stæn/USA pronunciation   n. [countable]
  1. Mechanical Engineering, Nautical, Naval Termsa windlass rotated in a horizontal plane for winding in ropes, etc.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2020
cap•stan  (kapstən, -stan),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. Mechanical Engineering, Nautical, Naval Termsany of various windlasses, rotated in a horizontal plane by hand or machinery, for winding in ropes, cables, etc.
  2. Sound Reproductiona rotating spindle or shaft, powered by an electric motor, that transports magnetic tape past the heads of a tape recorder at a constant speed.
  • Latin capistrum
  • Old Provencal cabestan, variant of cabestran, presumably present participle of *cabest(r)ar, a verb, verbal derivative of cabestre halter
  • Middle French cabestan(t)
  • Middle English 1350–1400

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
capstan /ˈkæpstən/ n
  1. a machine with a drum that rotates round a vertical spindle and is turned by a motor or lever, used for hauling in heavy ropes, etc
  2. any similar device, such as the rotating shaft in a tape recorder that pulls the tape past the head
Etymology: 14th Century: from Old Provençal cabestan, from Latin capistrum a halter, from capere to seize
'capstan' also found in these entries (note: many are not synonyms or translations):
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