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Which is at the top of the pillar: the capital or the capitol?

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Answer: the capital

The top part of a column or a pillar (as well as the town or city that is the home of the government) is called the capital.

However, the building where the legislature meets is called the capitol.


I just chanced to get it right, simply because I sensed that the "head" of a column or pillar (...or is it pillor?), would be akin to the governmental city "head" of a state.

But then, considering that it would be near chance that would render most guesses right or wrong, I began wondering what the two relative derivations are that would leave them spelled so similarly?

Just looked them up in one dictionary, and it's as befuddled as ever; since both derive from Latin "head," although with a few derivative variations.

Thanks for that. I always get so confused with this word.

In Spanish, my native language, it is very clear. The CAPITAL is the city, the CAPITOLIO is the building, and the CAPITEL is the top of the column. As I tell my Spanish 1 8th graders, English is so much tougher.

Way back in 7th grade I saw a filmstrip with series of mnemonic devices for tricky spellings, still remember the mini-crossword with picture: the capitOl has a dOme.
slundgren at

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