Today's "capacious" is simply the lesser-known but very useful adjective form of a common noun, "capacity." Familiarity with any given word's alternate forms is really helpful when you're writing and speaking--it gives you a lot of flexibility in how you phrase things.
Something capacious has a large capacity. In other words, capacious things can hold a lot of stuff or can take in a lot of stuff.
kuh PAY shuss
Part of speech:
(Adjectives are describing words, like "large" or "late."
They can be used in two ways:
1. Right before a noun, as in "a capacious library."
2. After a linking verb, as in "The library was capacious.")
capacity, capaciously, capaciousness
How to use it:
To be literal, talk about capacious closets and apartments, capacious bags and suitcases, capacious buildings and classrooms, and so on.
Figuratively, talk about capacious minds and memories, capacious interpretations or definitions, capacious imaginations, capacious souls, and capacious creative works (like capacious novels and poems).
Research on long-term memory suggests that it's impressively capacious, maybe even infinite. I like to bring this up when students protest to me that their brains are full.
If we could bring any fictional object into the real world, I'd vote for Hermione Granger's magically capacious purse.
study it now:
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "capacious" means when you can explain it without saying "spacious" or "roomy."
try it out:
Think of a poem, book, show, or movie that seems to be about a whole lot of things at once, and fill in the blanks: "The capacious (Title) touches on everything from _____ to _____."
Example: "The capacious East of Eden seems to touch on every literary theme you can think of, from good and evil to truth and manipulation."
before you review:
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
We're playing with clichés this month, examining the origins of some colorful ones. I’ll give you a cliché (some of which you might also call a proverb and/or an idiom) and pose a multiple-choice question about its origin. (I used this nifty book as a reference!)
Yesterday's question: When you “hold something at bay,” you prevent the problem from becoming worse. Which kind of “bay” does this cliché refer to: a bay-tree, a place where water and land meet, or the barking of dogs?
Answer: It’s a reference to the baying of dogs: that sound they make when they’re chasing or attacking something. It’s as if you’re a dog barking loudly at the problem, forcing it to stay where it is. Odd, right?
Try this one today: Something “cut and dry” (or “cut and dried”) is prepared in advance, or is routine and maybe boring. Did we get this cliché from preparing clothing, herbs, or beef jerky?
A Point Well Made:
Richard Dawkins: “Hope and optimism are much needed today, and that very fact should make us suspicious of anyone who steps up to offer them.”
review today's word:
1. The opposite of CAPACIOUS is
2. The ability to _____ is one mark of a capacious mind.
A. deflect attention to your conversational partner B. invent plausible stories to excuse your own faults
C. consider conflicting ideas and delay their acceptance
Answers are below.
a final word:
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Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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