Capital vs Capitol – Difference Between Capital and Capitol

Homophones- the most confusing yet enthralling part of English Grammar. These words sound similar when spelled, but differ in usage, spelling, meaning, etc. For instance, the words Capital and Capitol, these words are poles apart in definition and usage, still sound the same. Spelling-wise they only differ in one letter, I.e., a and o, some may even believe the word capitol is a typo of the word capital, but they are real and different from each other. 

Capital vs Capitol 

The main difference between Capital and Capitol is that Capital has several meanings. We use it to denote the official city of a country where the government resides and operates. On the other hand, the word Capitol denotes a building or a group of buildings wherein the assembly or legislature meets to make and discuss diplomatic decisions. For instance, the United States Capitol. 

Capital vs Capitol

We classify the word capital as a noun and an adjective. As a noun, Capital denotes an important city formally known as the Capital city. A country can have one or more capital cities. For instance, India has two major capital cities- Mumbai- the financial capital, New Delhi- the official capital of India. Whereas, as an adjective, the word capital signifies something of great importance. 

On the other hand, the word Capitol is only classified as a noun. As a noun, it depicts the official legislature building of a country. Frequently, the word Capitol is only used to refer to the United States Capitol in Washington D.C. It is a location where all the important political decisions are decided and announced. Every country has a Capitol wherein the ruling party often meets to discuss issues and ideas. 

Comparison Table Between Capital and Capitol 

Parameters of Comparison  Capital  Capitol  
Type/ Classification  Noun and Adjective  Noun 
Definition  The prime/ official city of a country  Building/ Complex where the assembly meets  
Popularly refers to  Financial Capital  The United States Capitol  
Additional meanings  Capital letter, funds, something of great importance, etc.  Religious Centre of Rome (Temple of Jupiter in Rome) 
In Sentences We should begin a sentence with a capital letter  The capitol building of some countries is in the middle of the capital city.   

What is Capital? 

Aforementioned, capital is a word that is included in the category of a noun and an adjective. As a noun, the word capital represents a city of prime importance for a country. For instance, financial capital looks after the financial decisions and transactions of the country. It acts as the economic bone of the country. As an adjective, the word capital could mean the uppercase alphabets (Capital Letters). 

The word capital originated from the Latin word- Caput, which denotes the head or the apex. The term capital describes a city where the ruling government usually visits and discusses plans. Usually, the capital city of a country is the largest in the country. 

The constitution of the country declares a city as the capital city. Usually, the ruling government operates from the capital city, but sometimes, the official capital and the government are distinguished from each other. 

Because of the vast infrastructures of some countries, two or more cities are declared as the capital cities to bifurcate the workload. For instance, in India, Mumbai handles financial decisions. While they make the rest of the government decisions in New Delhi, Chennai controls all the culture-related decisions and is popularly known as the Cultural Capital of India. 

In Economics, the word capital denotes funds or money. Usually, companies/ industries use this capital fund to generate more income/ funds/ profit. Sometimes, the word capital could also mean the death penalty. For instance, He committed a capital crime that led to his death. All these definitions conclude that the word capital means something of chief significance. 

What is Capitol? 

As mentioned above, the word Capitol is strictly a noun. It denotes a building or a complex where the state or the national assembly/ legislature consistently meets to discuss diplomatic decisions. Often, we use the word capitol to describe the United States Capitol in the capital city/ federal city of the United States- Washington D.C. 

As the name suggests, the United States Capitol is in the Capitol Hills of Washington D.C. It is the only location where the congress of the United States conducts meetings before announcing any significant decision. 

Currently, the capitol is not at the center of Washington, but it is still the origin point for the street numbering system. 

The word Capitol (Derived from Latin) originated from the Temple of Jupiter in the Capitoline Hills of Rome. They consider it as the religious center of Rome. After the official United States Capitol was entrenched, several nations adopted the word capitol for their legislative assembly buildings. Some states in the United States have their capitols. 

Back in the 18th Century, they also used capitols as a religious center for Sunday prayers. This practice became quite popular in the 1800s as on Sundays, the capital city of Washington transformed into a spiritual location as many prayers were happening in every street. The Capitol building of every country is exteriorly and interiorly well-built and looks magnificent. 

Main Differences Between Capital and Capitol 

  1. The word capital acts as a noun and an adjective, whereas the word capitol strictly acts as a noun. 
  2. The word capital denotes a prime city from where the government operates, while the word capitol denotes a building where the assembly regularly meets. 
  3. We derived the word capital from the Latin word Caput’ while we derived the word capitol from the Latin word Capitolium. 
  4. The word Capital has several other meanings, like the uppercase alphabets, death penalty, funds, whereas the word capitol has a single meaning- legislature building. 
  5. The word capital popularly refers to the financial/ economic capital of the country, whereas the word Capitol popularly refers to the United States Capitol. 
  6. The entire city falls under the word Capital, while only a building or group of buildings fall under Capitol. 

Conclusion 

From the above points, it is evident that even though the words Capital and Capitol sound alike, they differ in the description, usage, and several parameters. It is common to get confused between these two words as they differ in a single letter- a and o and as we use these words in political conversations, it makes it difficult to distinguish. 

Capital refers to an entire city where the government lives and operates. Capitol refers to a building or group of buildings that hold meetings to discuss political and diplomatic decisions. It is easier to remember/ memorize them as the word capital has several meanings, whereas the word capitol has a single description. 

References  

  1. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9780203481561-11/seven-types-capital-city-peter-hall 
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=S8dTv-zVTswC&oi=fnd&pg=PA5&dq=washington+capitol&ots=roe7teDDCs&sig=HbKQ6GwsWL7Ik1zuFmtTH9sUPcM 
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