Captain is a title for the commander of a military unit, the commander of a ship, aeroplane, spacecraft, or other vessel, or the commander of a port, fire department or police department, election precinct, etc. The captain is a military rank in armies, navies, Public Health Service, coast guards, etc., typically at the level of an officer commanding a company or battalion of infantry, a ship, or a battery of artillery, or similar distinct unit. The terms also may be used as an informal or honorary title for persons in similar commanding roles.
The term "captain" derives from katepánō (Ancient Greek: κατεπάνω, lit. '[the one] placed at the top', or 'the topmost'), which was used as title for a senior Byzantine military rank and office.[page needed] The word was Latinized as capetanus/catepan, and its meaning seems to have merged with that of the late Latin "capitaneus" (which derives from the classical Latin word "caput", meaning head). This hybridized term gave rise to the English language term captain and its equivalents in other languages (Capitan, Capitaine, Capitano, Capitão, Kapitan, Kapitän, Kapitein, Kapteeni, Kapten, kapitány, Kapudan Pasha, Kobtan, etc.).