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Legal Definition and Related Resources of Capital

Meaning of Capital

As an adjective, means chief , principal , or of pertaining to the death penalty , punishable with death. As a noun, in commercial parlance, means the fund or the sum of money that one is willing to or actually has invested in his undertaking , trade , calling or profession . In relation to corporations, the word capital could refer to authorized capital of the corporation ; that is the total amount of money that can be subscribed for all the shares of the corporation, pursuant to the limitations laid down under its charter or articles of incorporation ; or it could refer to issued capital, namely , the aggregate of the face value of all shares that have been allotted in a corporation; paid up capital, that is, the actual amount that has been paid or deemed to have been paid for the allotment of shares actually issued; and finally, uncalled capital, that is, that amount of the subscription for the allotment of shares that has not actually yet been paid. Frequently, the word capital is used in contradistinction to income .

Capital Alternative Definition

(1) The amount of money invested in a business; the fund dedicated to a business to support its credit, to provide for contingencies, to suffer diminution from losses, and to derive accretion from gains and profits. 30 Fed. 410. As used in the revenue act it does not include money temporarily borrowed. 21 Wall. (U.S.) 284.
(2) The actual estate, whether in money or property, which is owned by an individual or a corporation. In reference to a corporation it is the aggregate of the sum subscribed and paid in by the shareholders, with the addition of all gains or profits realized in the use or investment of those sums. 23 N. Y. 219.
(3) Affecting human life. See Capital Crime; Capital Punishment.

Financial Definition of Capital

Money invested in a firm.

Synonyms of Capital


  • assets
  • available means
  • balances
  • bank annuities
  • belongings
  • caput
  • cash supplies
  • credits
  • economic resources
  • finances
  • financial provision
  • financial resources
  • funds
  • funds for investment
  • funds in hand
  • holdings
  • income
  • investment portfolio
  • investments
  • line of credit
  • liquid assets
  • money
  • pecuniary resources
  • property
  • ready cash
  • receipts
  • reserves
  • resources
  • revenue
  • savings
  • sors
  • working assets Associated Concepts: authorized capital
  • capital account
  • capital assets
  • capital budget
  • capital case
  • capital construction
  • capital contribution
  • capital crime
  • capital expenditure
  • capital gains
  • capital gains tax
  • capital improvement
  • capital in a corporation
  • capital investment
  • capital loss
  • capital of a state
  • capital offense
  • capital outlay
  • capital paidin
  • capital project
  • capital punishment
  • capital reserve
  • capital stock
  • capital surplus
  • circulating capital
  • distribution of capital
  • equity capital
  • fixed capital
  • floating capital
  • impairment of capital
  • reduction of capital
  • return of capital
  • stated capital
  • working capitalforeign phrases: Excusat aut extenuat delictum in capitalibus quod non operatur idem in civilibus
  • That excuses or extenuates a wrong in capital cases which would not have the same effect in civil suits

Related Entries of Capital in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Capital in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Capital in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Capital in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Capital in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Adjusted Taxable Income, Annuity, Articles Of Incorporation, Assessment, Benefit Of Clergy, Capital Gain, Capital Loss, Capital Offense, Capital Stock, Check, Company, Corpse, Earnings, Encroach, Execution, Finance, Goodwill, Income, Invest, Joint Stock Company, Merger, No Par Value, Open-end Company, Paid-in Capital, Paid-up Capital, Partner, Partnership, Preference Share, Principal, Promoter, Receipt, Risk Capital, Share, Shareholder, Stock, Stockholder, Surplus.

What does Capital mean in American Law?

The definition of Capital in the law of the United States, as defined by the lexicographer Arthur Leff in his legal dictionary is:

The law of the Christian church, originally and primarily the Roman Catholic one, but carrying over pari passu into Protestantism, especially the Church of England. Following the pattern of Roman Law, with which it had a long history of mutual influence, it was formed out of the “statutes” of the Popes, and answers by them and by specially designated members of curia, to questions posed by private litigants, all subject to a continuing effort at systemization and codification.

Canon law more pervaded society when the church did; large segments of what is now within the exclusive care of secular law-marriage and divorce, inheritance, contract, criminal law-once was exclusively or concurrently in the ecclesiastical jurisdiction. But even now, when canon law as such is (at least in England and the U.S.) exclusively the internal law of the church, many of its principles, e.g., the doctrines of contractual good faith, and unconscionability (the latter a disguised version of the medieval fair price doctrine), can be discerned in modern secular rules, especially those developed in Equity. (It should not be forgotten that quite late in English history the English chancellors were high ecclesiastics.) And, while canon law had its own special sources (e.g., the writings of church fathers), there was, of course, substantial borrowing between those two main heirs to Roman Law, canon law and what we have come to call civil law, i.e., the law of modern western Europe.


You might be interested in these references tools:

Resource Description
Capital in the Dictionary Capital in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of Capital
Legal Maxims Maxims are established principles that jurists use as interpretive tools, invoked more frequently in international law
Legal Answers (Q&A) A community-driven knowledge creation process, of enduring value to a broad audience
Related topics Capital in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Capital Is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This definition needs to be proofread..

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)


Resource Description
Topic Map A group of names, occurrences and associations
Topic Tree A topic display format, showing the hierarchy
Sitemap Index Sitemap Index, including Taxonomies The URI of Capital (more about URIs)

Capital in Law Enforcement

Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of capital.


Legal English Vocabulary: Capital in Spanish

Online translation of the English legal term capital into Spanish: capital (English to Spanish translation) . More about legal dictionary from english to spanish online.

Related to the Legal Thesaurus


See Also

  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Police Officer
  • Law Enforcement Agency

Further Reading

English Legal System: Capital

In the context of the English law, A Dictionary of Law provides the following legal concept of Capital : 1. (share capital) A fund representing the contributions given to the company by shareholders in return for their shares. These assets are intended to protect the interests of any creditors in the event of a *limited company encountering financial difficulties, and there are rules under the Companies Act 1985 to ensure that this fund is not reduced unless it is absolutely necessary. Each share is assigned a nominal or par value to enable each holder to measure his interest in and liability to the company. In a company limited by shares (See limited company) the liability of a shareholder is limited to the unpaid purchase price of the share. If a company is able to command a market price for a share that is above the nominal value assigned to it, the difference is said to represent a premium. The total number of shares and their nominal values must be stated in the capital clause of the *memorandum of association and represents the company’s authorized share capital.

See authorized capital.


See loan capital.

Equity Capital in the Economic Activity

An introductory concept of Equity Capital may be: capital, such as shares (or stock), supplied to a firm by its owners(shareholders); the returns received by the owners are not guaranteed but depend on how well the firm does

United States Tax Concept of Capital

Money needed to start or grow a business. The excess of assets over liabilities. Cash and other assets used in operating a business.

Concept of Capital in the context of Real Property

A short definition of Capital: Money used to create income, either as investment in a business or income property.

Concept of Capital in the context of Real Property

A short definition of Capital: Money used to c
reate income, either as investment in a business or income property.

Definition of Capital

The Canada social science dictionary [1] provides the following meaning of Capital: An accumulation of goods or wealth used for the production of other goods and services rather than for immediate or personal use. If one just plays games on their computer, the computer can not be considered capital. However, if it is used to produce reports or graphs which are then sold, the computer can be considered capital. Capital is central to a capitalist economic system. See: CAPITALISM in this legal dictionary and in the world encyclopedia of law.

Capital: Resources

Notes and References

  • Drislane, R., & Parkinson, G. (2016). (Concept of) Capital. Online dictionary of the social sciences. Open University of Canada

Definition of Capital

In relation to social issues, a meaning of capital is provided here: cash, goods, natural resources, or human skills that are used to produce income.



See Also

  • Education Policy
  • Training Policy



See Also

  • Factors of Production

Further Reading

  • Capital in the Encyclopedia of Business and Finance, 3rd Edition, Macmillan Reference USA, 2014


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