Apple choose "El Capitan" as OS X 10.11 name, it's a spanish word, what does it mean? And something about its etymology might help too.

  • 2
    This is probably a better question for the History SE as the rationale for the mountain peak being named El Capitan isn't really directly related to the Spanish language other than it being the source language (it means “The Captain”). Also, Picard/Q use the French mon capitaine in their exchanges (lit. “my captain”). Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 5:49
  • @guifa I think it's arguable whether it belongs here or in History SE. I think it is more appropriate here, since here we speak about language and culture maybe we are more knowledgeable about context related to language. It wouldn't be the first time that a question asks for historical context about a word.
    – Jose Luis
    Commented Jun 11, 2015 at 8:26
  • @guifa I think it's better belong to here, and that's why I ask it here, but never thought it would got a minus point, guess this isn't a welcoming sub-community. And for the record, these kind of responses never occurred in the Chinese Language, we welcome everything related to the Chinese language and culture there, since you can't separate the language and culture.
    – Albert
    Commented Jun 14, 2015 at 12:47
  • @Albert I didn't downvote you. But this isn't Spanish Language and Culture. Culture questions are simply not on topic: spanish.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic . Even if we look just at the meaning of El Capitán, that's off topic as it's a question that can be answered with a quick trip to the dictionary. Apple has already named a version after a Spanish word (in turn from Quechua): puma. It also named one after a Portuguese word (which originated in Guarani): Jaguar. Commented Jun 14, 2015 at 15:36
  • @guifa Thanks, I think I might mislead what I want to know until I take a closer look at the help.
    – Albert
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 3:14

1 Answer 1


"El Capitan" is a rock formation in Yosemite national park. Since the previous OS X version is Yosemite I guess it is related to it.

  • The next OS version will be Half Dome, perhaps? Which will lead to wags calling it "Half Dumb" and "Half Done", etc. Commented Jun 13, 2015 at 14:05
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    @B.ClayShannon they're using California place names as of 10.9. Just like with the cat names, versions with major user-facing changes (UI, etc) get brand new names, whereas the ones that are more polishing/developer-facing changed get variant names (Leopard = more noticeable to users, Snow Leopard = less noticeable to users). In this case, the "variant" name for the more fine-tuning/developer featured version came from a mountain within Yosemite. The next set might be Searles (.12) and Trona (.13), or Cascade and Shasta. Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 1:24
  • @JesusS, According to OS X El Capitan_ Features, Release Date and Details, it is related, here I quote: "The "El Capitan" name for OS X 10.11 reflects a long-running OS X naming scheme that's used to denote updates that are refinements to previous updates, following in the footsteps of Leopard/Snow Leopard and Lion/Mountain Lion." From this point of view, "El Capitan" is a fine name.
    – Albert
    Commented Jun 21, 2015 at 6:45

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