The Capricorn Personality Traits That Make It the Zodiac’s Most Ambitious Sign

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If you were born between December 22 and January 19 (smack-dab in the midst of the holiday season), congratulations! You’re a hard-working, tradition-loving, ambitious-spirited Capricorn. Just like with every other sign in the zodiac, Capricorn personality traits have their own special flavor.

"Ruled by the planet Saturn, which represents the limits of space and time, Capricorns are born with a keen awareness of this Earthly limitation and are thus determined to make things happen during their lifetime," says astrologer Elisabeth Grace. "They’re known for their serious focus, especially in youth."

Experts In This Article

Olga Verk, astrologer at Not Retrograde, adds that Capricorns feel most comfortable when they have set rules to follow—which makes sense, given their planetary ruler, Saturn, is considered the stringent taskmaster of the cosmos. "Saturn reflects our perceived limitations, authority figures, commitments, responsibilities, structure, and hard work," astrologer Rachel Lang previously told Well+Good. These traits can be good indicators of which zodiac signs are most and least compatible with Capricorn.

Sure, your whole natal chart (which you can find by inputting your birth time, date, and location to an online generator like this one) will reveal more nuanced details about what makes you tick, astrologically speaking, but your sun sign (aka what you consult when you check your horoscope) can typically fill in a lot of the blanks.

Whether you're a Capricorn yourself or there are a few special sea goats in your life whom you'd like to better understand, it's worth checking out what astrologers identify below as unique facets of the Capricorn personality. These details are great to bookmark for knowing what really makes this Earth sign thrive.

10 Most Potent Capricorn Personality Traits

1. Capricorns are ambitious— almost to a fault

Capricorns are the ultimate worker bees; they’re ambitious, organized, practical, goal-oriented, and they don’t mind the hustle.

“They’re ready to give up a lot in order to achieve that goal,” Verk says. They also love making their own rules, which means they strive to reach high career positions.

2. Capricorns have razor-sharp focus

Once a Cap is plugged into a new project, don’t expect to hear from them for a few days. The next time you see them, they’ll have a finished product to show you.

"Capricorns are determined to make things happen during their lifetime,” says Grace. They’re known for their serious focus, especially in youth."

3. Capricorns can walk the walk

While Capricorns excel in nearly every area of their life, don’t expect them to bask in their glory and flaunt their successes. This studious sign lets their achievements speak for themselves.

“They tend to stay modest and show their authority by their actions,” says Verk.

4. Capricorns have high standards for themselves

According to astrologer, author, and tarot reader Maria Sofia Marmanides, Capricorns are often driven by their own impossibly high standards, and in terms of personal success, enough is never enough.

“That Cardinal energy is going to make them want to just keep going,” says Marmanides. “It's like, ‘Okay, what's next? What can I do next? What other thing can I achieve?’ It’s not just achievement, it becomes overachievement.”

5. Capricorns are the queens of sarcasm

Perhaps the most underrated personality trait of Capricorns is their sarcastic sense of humor. Their sharp wit and logical mindsets mesh together to create a dark, biting hilariousness.

“Saturn is considered a planet that's a little bit cold and restrictive,” says Marmanides, “so these are people who are going to have a little bit of dark edge to their humor. They're going to make very sarcastic comments or a biting remark that makes the room laugh.”

6. Capricorns keep their true thoughts and feelings to themselves

In addition to finding it difficult to be mindful of other people's feelings, Capricorns may also struggle to express their own. Underneath their prickly shells is a vulnerable inner child longing for approval.

“They always try to keep up walls,” Verk says. “It’s hard for them to loosen up and just enjoy life and have fun. While they seem tough and stubborn on the outside, they can be very sensitive on the inside.”

7. Capricorns find comfort in structure

Capricorns enjoy making concrete plans, planning detailed itineraries, and referencing fleshed-out rule books. For Caps, having some kind of organizational structure in place is greatly reassuring.

“This doesn’t always mean stability,” Verk says. “Capricorns can handle a crisis or two, but knowing that justice and rules are in place is what gets them through things and makes them feel safe.”

8. Capricorns aren’t afraid of a little healthy competition

Diligent, hyper-focused Capricorns love a good dose of healthy competition, especially in the workplace. Don’t mistake their competitiveness for hostility or envy, though; Capricorns simply use competition as a vessel for self improvement. In other words, it’s not about you, it’s about them.

“In comparison to an Aries who's always itching for a showdown, Capricorns are not,” says Marmanides. “Capricorn isn't scrappy; they're more strategic, they're more planners. You could be in a competition with a Capricorn and you might not even know it.”

9. Capricorns have an intense fear of failure

Remember those high standards mentioned above? It’s not uncommon for Capricorns to buckle under the pressure of the high standards they’ve set for themselves. Failure is a non-option for Capricorns, so when they fall short of their lofty goals, it can feel world-shattering.

“Inwardly, they can be a really harsh critic to themselves,” says Marmanides.

10. Capricorns love traditions, old and new

You can always count on Capricorns to rally the troops for themed dinner parties at their place. Capricorns love embracing old traditions and creating new ones with friends and family.

“Creating those moments that are worth having a tradition over, it's not tradition for the sake of tradition,” says Marmanides. “It's really about connection.”

Capricorn Traits with Love and Sex

When it comes to sexual relationships, Capricorns tend to be big on physicality and love taking the lead. This can make Caps intense in the bedroom, but also great lovers who set their sights on bringing their partner the ultimate pleasure and satisfaction. Their need to succeed extends to the sheets, so to speak.

“Capricorn is a very sexy dominant sign,” says Marmanides. “Just like with work, they bring that same level of dedication to their bedroom activities.”

Capricorns may be slower to fall in love, both because expressing their feelings isn't necessarily a natural inclination and also because they want to be sure that any partnership they're getting into actually warrants an emotional investment. In keeping with the symbolism of their ruling planet, taskmaster Saturn, they value stability and tradition and view love as a commitment involving a high level of responsibility.

“Capricorn is an Earth sign and is naturally compatible with the two other Earth signs, Taurus and Virgo,” Grace says. “All three share an appreciation for what is practical, useful, and material.”

Pairing a Capricorn with a water sign (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces) can also make for a productive union, Grace says, which totally makes sense: Things grow when you bring together Earth and water.

With fire signs (Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius), though, Capricorns may be wise to exercise a bit more caution. “Fire can scorch Earth, and Earth can smother fire,” Grace says. The same goes for compatibility with air signs (Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius), because air turns Earth into dust. That said, since a person's moon sign, rising sign, and more, also play heavily into compatibility (meaning it's not advised to assign star-crossed matches based on sun sign alone), it's important to consider other placement's in a person's chart.

Capricorn Traits with Career and Money

According to Marmanides, hard-working, pragmatic Capricorns are considered the patriarchal archetype of the zodiac. Providing for their family financially and being able to bring home the bacon matters deeply to them. They thrive as the head of the household and are keen on building a future for themselves and their loved ones. Rather than set aside their funds for a rainy day, though, ambitious Capricorns prefer to seek out ways to maximize their income.

“Money is always going to be important to them,” says Marmanides. “They're going to have that mindset of ‘I want to invest, I want to build structure.’ They might be more open to Bitcoin or experimenting a little bit; whatever it is, they're not just going to save their money under a mattress or put it in a bank account.They're going to do something with it.”

Capricorns tend to thrive as leaders of a group or in positions of power, where they can put their top talents at planning and executing to their best use. In fact, if given the opportunity to, they'll often absorb the responsibilities of others as their own while they work toward a goal with a can-do attitude. In turn, they also tend to lift up the people around them, with the aim of helping them achieve their goals to the same extent as they pursue their own.

To get specific career insights, it’s best to see an astrologer who can take into account your entire natal chart and reference your 10th house, Grace says. But generally speaking, she notes that Capricorns thrive in roles in which they're a recognized authority in their field. Verk adds that they also excel in jobs that require them to think strategically, build structure, and maintain order. That includes administrative personnel, dentistry, law, architecture, or inspecting. Also, careers where they can ascend in a highly visible way (think government organizations or big corporations) are particularly great.

“Capricorn is intuitively aligned with ideals of authority and hierarchy, and the security it brings to society's big structures when a person of integrity is in charge,” Grace says. “Capricorn is drawn to fill that role.”

And, in the absence of hierarchy, Capricorns are also adept at going it alone, given that they make great entrepreneurs. “Business is where Capricorn thrives," Grace says. “They know how to deploy resources and plan strategy like nobody's business."

Capricorn Traits with Friendships

Because Capricorns appreciate repeating structures and consistency, they're incredibly loyal and dependable friends and family members. Their driven nature carries through to their personal and emotional relationships—and this is particularly the case for anyone with a Capricorn moon sign, too—meaning that a Cap is the friend you can count on never to break a promise (and they'll hope for the same from you in return).

Like other Earth signs, Capricorns also enjoy the tangible rewards that friendships have to offer, and revel in thoughtful demonstrations of appreciation and gifts. They also tend to link up, in particular, with the people who share their same high-minded values and who are reaching toward similar life goals.

Given Cap's reputation for being a self-starter—it's a cardinal sign, after all—a Capricorn friend is likely the one who operates best in a decision-making role, whether that's choosing the place where you all meet up for brunch, creating a full weekend-trip itinerary, or mediating conflict whenever it stymies any plans.

Highly sensitive people may find Capricorn’s blunt feedback and honesty a bit jarring in friendships. After all, Caps are problem solvers and approach all issues from a place of logic and practicality. Making a game plan is how Capricorn pals show their love.

“If you're the kind of person that really just wants to vent and have somebody be that shoulder to cry on, maybe not go to a Capricorn dominant person,” says Marmanides. “But if you want somebody who is going to help you give you suggestions or help see you through it in a very practical way, go to them.”

If there’s one thing that Capricorns can’t get enough of, it’s the feeling of accomplishment, Grace says. To keep the Cap in your life happy, remember to give them a high-five when they do a good job and do something to celebrate all their wins. They thrive from praise because they really value how others see them.

It’s also really important for Capricorns to feel respected and acknowledged. “Show them that you appreciate their hard work, but make sure it’s sincere,” Verk says. So, make sure you honor a Cap’s boundaries, offer them the time that they need to open up, and do your best not to break their trust.

Capricorn Likes and Dislikes

Point blank, Capricorns like to be in charge. These signs are natural born leaders, and as such, they embrace positions of power in their relationships. They love being trusted with the role of event planning, especially in regards to holiday or anniversary festivities.

“Whether it’s creating a tradition or continuing a family tradition with their own family, creating a new one with their new family, or with Friendsgiving, Capricorn is the one that's organizing it, telling everybody what to bring,” says Marmanides.

Hypotheticals, emotionally-charged displays, and efforts to undermine their authority make the top of Capricorn’s list of dislikes.

“Anything that feels illogical, they probably are not going to do well with,” says Marmanides. “Public embarrassment or feeling like they're being shamed or being made fun of would probably be really hard for them to take, since so much of what they do is for their status or their public perception.”

Capricorn’s Challenges and Growth Opportunities

Setting several achievable goals will help Capricorns feel competent and able to tap into their task-oriented and disciplined nature. To recenter and reconnect with what matters, Caps, like other Earth signs, should partake in simple pleasures like cooking, gardening, and reading, astrologer Carolyne Faulkner previously told Well+Good.

Caps should also be extra-conscious of practicing active listening to ensure they're giving others space to express themselves and taking those feelings into account as much as possible. Finding a mentee whom they can support in their life and career goals will also be deeply fulfilling, as Capricorns really love being able to catapult others to success with the same passion and pragmatism as they do themselves.

Although Capricorn’s strengths often include wild success, their overachieving nature can sometimes unintentionally compromise those whom they step over on the journey to reach their own goals, says astrologer Janet Amid. And since Caps occasionally fail to consider the feelings of others in favor of operating as efficiently as possible, Grace adds that they're known to rub people the wrong way. They hold themselves up to a very high standard and expect no less from their peers.

“When you have those Capricorn tendencies, enough is never enough,” says Marmanides. “They don't necessarily take a lot of time to celebrate their wins, because they’re now onto the next thing.”

It's worth noting that Capricorns' relentless drive to succeed can mask a deeper fear of failure, which can be crippling when it's surfaced by setbacks along the way. And like other Earth signs, Caps tend to measure success in terms of materiality, turning to tangible awards, recognitions, or material comforts to find assurance of their status—which can, of course, be stressful, if not limiting.

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