I never realized before today that the word recap is actually an abbreviation! The term was first used in some 1909 shipping records as a shorter version of recapitulation. In music, that refers to a movement that is repeated; in biology, it's the repetition of a life process; and, in general, it was the same as our modern definition. Recapitulation was borrowed at the start of the fourteenth century from Old French recapitulacion, which was borrowed at the start of the thirteenth century from the Latin participle recapitulationem. That's composed of the prefix re-, meaning "again", and capitulam, meaning "section" or "main part". Capitulam quite literally translates to "little head"; the root is caput, which I've written about before (through Proto-Italic kaput, from Proto-Indo-European kaput, "head")
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.