Lets say I want to ask someone to put the cap of either a soft drink or a ketchup bottle on, One way of saying that is

Can you please put the cap back on.

However I want to know what is the verb for the process of fixing the cap on the bottle by spinning it around the top.

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    There are several words you can use, such as turn, tighten, twist, or screw.
    – J.R.
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 18:26
  • 2
    For what it's worth, I would still say "Can you please put the cap back on." Anything else seems to imply that I'm directing the person in what manner to put the cap back on, which just sounds odd to me. (I understand you were just looking for the correct term, just thought I'd mention it!)
    – WendiKidd
    Commented Mar 5, 2013 at 2:45
  • @WendiKidd: I agree, in everyday conversation, I'm unlikely to tell you how to put the cap back on. But, if I were writing a novel, knowing which verbs are or aren't customarily used might prove valuable. Consider: "He grimaced as he twisted the pickle-jar lid" vs. "He grimaced as he torqued the pickle-jar lid". Both are grammatical, but I'd recommend the former over the latter.
    – J.R.
    Commented Mar 6, 2013 at 23:44
  • recap is the word that comes to mind for me. I have heard it a fair bit here in the North East US. Commented Aug 15, 2018 at 12:43
  • @J.R. can "close" be used with bottle? Like: "Close the bottle". "It's really difficult to close this bottle." (I mean "open" is used with bottle, so can "close" be used too?) Commented Aug 14, 2019 at 16:53

2 Answers 2


The verb you are looking for is screw.

From the OALD website:

  1. [transitive] to fasten one thing to another or make something tight with a screw or screws

    • The bookcase is screwed to the wall.
    • You need to screw all the parts together.
    • Now screw down the lid.
  2. [transitive] to twist something around in order to fasten it in place

    • She screwed the cap back on the jar.
    • Screw the bolt tight.
  3. [intransitive] to be attached by screwing

    • The bulb should just screw into the socket.
    • The lid simply screws on.
  • This answer is perfectly correct and a good recommendation, but I would equally recommend twist. Screw brings up the image of fastening something down a bit more permanently, with screws or other objects. Screw is correct, just twist sounds more correct to me in this particular situation :)
    – WendiKidd
    Commented Oct 17, 2013 at 23:10
  • Perhaps it is a regional preference; personally, I would usually only use the word twist as it relates to body movement. I just asked my hubby what action verb he would use to describe putting on a bottle cap and he said "screw." Commented Oct 18, 2013 at 3:23

Verbs mentioned so far (turn, tighten, twist, screw) are ok, although twirl (“To rotate”) is good too. For example: “Can you please twirl the top when you put it on?”

More generally, recap (“To seal (something) again with a cap”) works for caps that push on as well as those that screw on. For example: “Recap the bottle after use.”

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    Hmm... If I overheard someone saying, "twirl the top when you put it on", I'm not sure bottle caps would be my first thought...
    – Shog9
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 21:48
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    Also, I'm not sure I'd use the word "recap" meaning to put the cap back on (and I'm not sure new English learners should either). That use of the word is very rare compared with the other meaning, i.e. "to summarize". If someone said "I'm going to recap this bottle" they would probably get surprised looks from nearby native English speakers.
    – Matt
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 23:52

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