Capish, also written “capisce” or “capiche” is a questioning word with the meaning “Do you understand?” or “Have I made myself clear?”.
It is generally said in a very strict, authoritative manner, and it is nearly a rhetorical question – the answer is usually expected to be a clear “yes”.
You would use “capish” after giving a task or an order, for example:
“You will clean this room or I will take away your Xbox, capish?”
No one dares to mess around with a person who just told you “capish”, or you will get in trouble.
Origin of the term
“Capish” comes from the Italian version with the same meaning “capisce”.
Capisce was derived from the other Italian word “capire”, meaning “to understand”, which was further derived from the Latin word “capere” – “to comprehend”.
It was first used in 1873, in the meaning defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary as ‘-used to ask if a message, warning, etc., has been understood’.
Spread of the term
As the slang comes forward as threatening and demanding, it is rarely used in colloquial speech.
“Capish” is rather presented in US made movies, often by a character who has a higher status than others, such as a boss or a drug lord.
It is meant to have the aggressive delivery as would be expected of the Italian Mafia, a way of speech rarely used in daily talk.
- The Online Slang Dictionary – Capisce (Capish)