capitol vs capital

What is the difference?

definition: the seat of the US Congress in Washington DC.
    No synonyms available
    definition: the city or town that functions as the seat of government and administrative centre of a country or region
    1. Warsaw is the capital of Poland
    first city, most important city, seat of government, centre of administration

    capitol vs capital

    Want to know the difference between capitol vs. capital? The word capital has a range of meanings, depending on what you want to say. Capitol, on the other hand, is a little easier to understand. Find out the wider range of definitions here, and we will give you some takeaways and useful example sentences, so you'll never confuse these two words again!

    1. capitol


    Capitol refers to the building where the official legislative body meets to discuss important matters or a group of buildings where the seat of the government functions. Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. refers to the landmark home of the seat of the U.S. government. The senate, Houses of Representatives, the Supreme Court, The Library of Congress, and other important judiciaries, military, and navy buildings.


    Fun Factoids

    The history of Capitol Hill is fascinating. Did you know that the construction of the U.S. Capitol Building began in 1793? The Capitol building initially housed the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, and offices, not only Congress. However, as the nation grew, so did Congress and Capitol Hill. The Library of Congress, also known as the Thomas Jefferson Building, moved to a separate property in 1897, and the Senate Office moved to the Russell Senate Office Building in 1909.

    Examples for capitol

    The official seat of the U.S. Government is based in Washington DC on Capitol Hill.

    The Capitol Buildings, navy yard, and residential houses cover a ground area of around 4 acres.

    The United States Capitol is the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government, otherwise known as the United States Congress.

    Capitol derives from the Latin word "Capitolium."

    Capitol with an "o" only refers to important government buildings.

    When Capitol is capitalized, it refers to the United States Capitol. When capitol is lowercase, it refers to a building occupied by state legislation.

    2. capital

    noun, adjective

    The difference between capital and capitol is huge, even though only one vowel differentiates them. Capital can refer to the wealth that a business or person owns. Additional meanings refer to an uppercase letter or the city or town with the official government seat in any country or state. Capital offense, in particular, refers to a criminal charge punishable by the death penalty.


    Fun Factoids

    Did you know that the word capital derives from Latin? As most great words do, capital derives from the Latin adjective "capitalis," which was originally used to indicate something that affected the head, in other words, a capital wound or bruise. Head injuries can be fatal, so capital became an adjective describing things or people threatening life or property. Capital punishment is now the only known use of capital as a threat to life. However, capital is still used to refer to important cities or for wealth and assets.

    Examples for capital

    The Art Capital of the world is arguably New York.

    Most capital cities host government offices and important meeting places. This is referred to as the official constitutional capital.

    In English, news media outlets often use the name of the capital city as the alternative name for the country's government.

    Amsterdam is the constitutional capital of the Netherlands even though the Dutch government, the Supreme Court, and embassies are located in The Hague.

     You must always use a capital letter for proper nouns and at the start of a sentence. For example, Washington D.C. uses uppercase letters.

    One hundred and ninety-five nations worldwide are officially recognized as independent countries, each with its Capital city. Some countries have multiple capitals. When this happens, additional capital cities are listed too.

    Takeaways - Tips


    Capitol with an "o" is always used to refer to the building where the government's legislative body meets.


    Capital with an "a" has a few different meanings. It refers to the capital city of a country, an uppercase letter, punishments involving the death penalty, assets or wealth, or something important and influential.

    Bottom Line

    Though these words are commonly confused because they both relate to politics and the government in some way, capitol refers to the buildings where government officials operate. In some countries, they call this parliament or parliament buildings.


    When to use capitol?

    When to use capital?

    How to remember capitol vs. capital?

    Commonly Confusing Words

    Spell checkers don't always have you covered. Sometimes your word might be spelled correctly, but it could be the wrong word. In English, there are lots of confusing terms that look alike but are spelled differently, and many terms that mean the same thing but are easily misused.

    Here are the most commonly confusing word pairings, with definitions and examples of their usage.

    Check it out!