See also -ability




From Old French ableté (French habileté, earlier spelling habilité with silent h), from Latin habilitas (aptitude, ability), from habilis (apt, able) apparently. See able.





Ability (plural abilities)
  1. The quality or state of being able; power to perform, whether physical, moral, intellectual, conventional, or legal; capacity; skill or competence in doing; sufficiency of strength, skill, resources, etc.; -- in the plural, faculty, talent.
    Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren - Acts 11:29
    Natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by study - Francis Bacon
    The public men of England, with much of a peculiar kind of ability - Thomas Babington Macaulay
  2. Considerable proficiency; natural capability.


Usage notesModificar

  • Ability has reference to the active exercise of our faculties. It implies not only native vigor of mind, but that ease and promptitude of execution which arise from mental training. Thus, we speak of the ability with which a book is written, an argument maintained, a negotiation carried on, etc. It always something to be done, and the power of doing it.
  • Capacity has reference to the receptive powers. In its higher exercises it supposes great quickness of apprehension and breadth of intellect, with an uncommon aptitude for acquiring and retaining knowledge. Hence it carries with it the idea of resources and undeveloped power. Thus we speak of the extraordinary capacity of such men as Lord Bacon, Blaise Pascal, and Edmund Burke. "Capacity," says H. Taylor, "is requisite to devise, and ability to execute, a great enterprise." The word abilities, in the plural, embraces both these qualities, and denotes high mental endowments

Related termsModificar


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.


(Version: Anniversary,Pre-Anniversary): a - disjoined b

External linksModificar

am:ability ar:ability be:ability de:ability et:ability el:ability fa:ability fr:ability ko:ability hy:ability hi:ability io:ability id:ability it:ability kn:ability ku:ability hu:ability ml:ability my:ability nl:ability ja:ability no:ability pl:ability pt:ability ro:ability ru:ability simple:ability fi:ability sv:ability ta:ability te:ability th:ability chr:ability tr:ability uk:ability vi:ability vo:ability zh:ability

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.