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A Capital Mistake

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Jonah, a music teacher, in Baltimore, Maryland, shares a funny story about a student who misunderstood his question about the capital of his home state. That left Jonah wondering about the difference between the words capital and capitol. The former goes back to Latin caput, meaning “head” and by extension, the “most important,” “main,” or “great,” giving us terms like capital letter and capital as in “money,” originally, “the first part of a loan,” or in Latin, pars capitalis. Capitol spelled with an O, is used specifically for “the building in which a legislative body meets,” and derives from the Capitoline Hill in Rome, where a magnificent temple of Jupiter once stood. This is part of a complete episode.

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