The first recorded sense of capable was ‘able to take in’, physically or mentally. It comes from Latin capere ‘take or hold’ which is found in many other English words including: accept (Late Middle English) from ad- ‘to’ and capere; anticipation (Late Middle English) ‘acting or taking in advance’; capacity (Late Middle English) ‘ability to hold’; caption (Late Middle English) originally an act of capture; captive (Late Middle English); catch (Middle English); chase (Middle English); conceive (Middle English) literally ‘take together’; except (Late Middle English) ‘take out of’; incapacity (early 17th century) inability to hold; intercept (Late Middle English) to take between; perceive (Middle English) to hold entirely; prince; receive (Middle English) ‘take back’; susceptible (early 17th century) literally ‘that can be taken from below’.
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The Latin word princeps, ‘first, chief, sovereign’, is the source of prince, and also of both principal (Middle English) meaning ‘chief’ and principle (Late Middle English) ‘a rule or theory on which something is based’. A prince was originally a ruler of a smaller state, as in the Prince of Wales, a title that since the reign of Edward III has been given to the eldest son of the king or queen of England. At first this was the only use in England, but over time the term has been extended to include other members of the royal family. In the reign of James I it was applied to all the sons of the sovereign, and later, under Queen Victoria, to all the grandsons too. Prince Charming is the traditional name of the young prince who marries the heroine in a pantomime or fairy tale such as Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty. He first appeared as Le roi Charmant, or ‘King Charming’, in the French fairy story The Blue Bird (1698), and made his English debut in a play of 1851.