- an apparatus, mainly on ships, around which cables or hawsers are wound for hoisting anchors, lifting weights, etc.: it consists of an upright, spool-shaped cylinder that is turned on an inner shafting by machinery or by hand
- a rotating spindle in a tape recorder mechanism that regulates the speed at which the tape is driven past the head
Origin of capstanMiddle English from Old Provençal cabestan from uncertain or unknown; perhaps Classical Latin capistrum, halter, muzzle from capere, to take: see have
- Nautical An apparatus used for hoisting, consisting of a vertical, manually or mechanically rotated cylinder around which the cable to be pulled runs.
- A small cylindrical shaft used to drive magnetic tape at a constant speed in a tape recorder.
Origin of capstanMiddle English from Norman French from Old Provençal cabestan from cabestre noose from Latin capistrum halter probably from capere to seize ; see kap- in Indo-European roots.
- (nautical) A vertical cleated drum or cylinder, revolving on an upright spindle, and surmounted by a drumhead with sockets for bars or levers. It is much used, especially on shipboard, for moving or raising heavy weights or exerting great power by traction upon a rope or cable, passing around the drum. It is operated either by steam power or by a number of men walking around the capstan, each pushing on the end of a lever fixed in its socket.
- (electronics) A rotating spindle used to move recording tape through the mechanism of a tape recorder.
From French cabestan, of uncertain origin.
capstan - Computer Definition
On magnetic tape drives, a motorized cylinder that traps the tape against a free-wheeling roller and moves it at a regulated speed.