The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is encapsulate. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.
What It Means
Encapsulate means “to show or express the main idea or quality of (something) in a brief way.”
// Her first album encapsulates the sound of the 90s.
ENCAPSULATE in Context
“Catherine Lutz, a longtime valley journalist, edited the book for correct style and punctuation purposes, without altering [writer Peggy] Clifford’s content. She also wrote the captions to go along with each photo. ‘The captions for the photos were purposed to encapsulate the text of the book, so if someone were to just flip through without reading the text, they could get its essence from the photos and their captions,’ Lutz said…” — Jacqueline Reynolds, The Aspen (Colorado) Daily News, 21 Aug. 2022
Did You Know?
We’ll keep it brief by encapsulating the history of this word in just a few sentences. Encapsulate and its related noun, capsule, come to us from capsula, a diminutive form of the Latin noun capsa, meaning “box.” (Capsa also gave us the “container” or “box” meaning of the noun case.) The earliest examples of encapsulate are for its literal use (“to enclose something in a capsule”) and date to the late 19th century. Its extended meaning, “to give a summary or synopsis of something,” plays on the notion of a capsule being something compact, self-contained, and often easily digestible.
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