Capstan definitions

kăp'stən, -stăn'
An apparatus used for hoisting weights, consisting of a vertical spool-shaped cylinder that is rotated manually or by machine and around which a cable is wound.
noun
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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.
noun
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A small cylindrical shaft used to drive magnetic tape at a constant speed in a tape recorder.
noun
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A rotating spindle in a tape recorder mechanism that regulates the speed at which the tape is driven past the head.
noun
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On magnetic tape drives, a motorized cylinder that traps the tape against a free-wheeling roller and moves it at a regulated speed.
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(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.
noun
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(electronics) A rotating spindle used to move recording tape through the mechanism of a tape recorder.
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Origin of capstan

Middle English from Norman French from Old Provençal cabestan from cabestre noose from Latin capistrum halter probably from capere to seize kap- in Indo-European roots