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A Căpcăun is a creature in Romanian folklore, depicted as an ogre who kidnaps children or young ladies (mostly princesses). It represents evil, as do its counterparts Zmeu and the Balaur. The Romanian word appears to have meant "Dog-head" (căp being a form of cap, meaning "head", and căun a derivative of câine, "dog"). According to Romanian folkloric phantasy, the căpcăun has dog head, sometimes with four eyes, with eyes in the nape, or with four legs, but whose main characteristic is anthropophagy.

The term căpcăun also means "Tatar chieftain" or "Turk chieftain", as well "pagan". Some linguists consider to be the echo of Turkish term kapkan (kaphan, kapgan), that in some Turkic peoples in the age of migrations (for example at Eurasian Avars, Proto-Bulgars - kavhan - and Pechenegs) was a high noble or administrative rank.[1]


  1. ^ DER (Romanian Etymological Dictionary), definition no. 2