This paper analyses several concepts of social capital to show what meanings have been constructed around the phrase, 'social capital.' By looking at the roots of 'social' and capital,' it demonstrates that the use of the phrase 'social capital' is an inappropriate one. The phrase does not fit the phenomenon it tries to explain. Ideological roots of 'capital' suggest that it is individualistic, that despite multiplication it tends to accumulate and concentrate often through exploitative means, and that it follows paths of gender and class discrimination. On the other hand, the phenomenon, which the phrase social capital captures, does not tend towards the individualistic, but to the social. It multiplies and spreads to families, communities, and groups. It also does not concentrate or accumulate like capital. By analyzing such contradictions in the phrase, the paper explores appropriate alternatives and suggests implications for policy and practice.