Ability definition

ə-bĭlĭ-tē
Frequency:
A being able; power to do (something physical or mental)
noun
49
21
Skill, expertness, or talent.
noun
35
17
The definition of ability is having the ability to do something.

An example of ability is having enough money to pay a bill.

noun
10
1
A (specified) ability, capacity, or tendency.
affix
10
3
The legal wherewithal to act. [First attested in the mid 17th century.]
noun
6
0
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Ability, inclination, or suitability for a specified action or condition.

Teachability.

suffix
13
8
A skill, talent, or capacity.

A student of many abilities.

noun
4
1
(now limited to Scotland dialects) Physical power. [First attested from around (1350 to 1470).]
noun
3
0
(uncountable) The quality or state of being able; capacity to do; capacity of doing something; having the necessary power. [First attested from around (1350 to 1470).]

This phone has the ability to have its software upgraded wirelessly.

This wood has the ability to fight off insects, fungus, and mold for a considerable time.

noun
4
2
(uncountable) A unique power of the mind; a faculty. [First attested in the late 16 th century.]
noun
3
1
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(countable) A skill or competence in doing; mental power; talent; aptitude. [First attested in the early 17 th century.]

They are persons of ability, who will go far in life.

She has an uncanny ability to defuse conflict.

noun
3
1
Ability means a special talent or skill.

An example of ability is a batting average of .500 in baseball.

noun
2
0
(archaic) Financial ability. [First attested in the early 16th century.]
noun
2
0
The quality of being able to do something, especially the physical, mental, financial, or legal power to accomplish something.
noun
2
1
The quality of being suitable for or receptive to a specified treatment.

The ability of a computer to be configured for use as a file server.

noun
1
1
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Forms a noun from a verb; ability, inclination or suitability for a specified function or condition.
suffix
0
2

Alternative Forms

Alternative Form of ability - -ibility

Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
ability
Plural:
abilities

Origin of ability

  • L -abilitas: see -able & -ity

    From Webster's New World College Dictionary, 5th Edition

  • Middle English abilite from Old French habilite from Latin habilitās from habilis handy able

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • Middle English -abilitie from Old French -abilite from Latin -ābilitās from -ābilis -able

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Middle English -ablete, -iblete, -abilite, -ibilite, from Middle French -ableté, -ibleté, -abilité, -ibilité, from Latin -abilitas, -ibilitas, from -abilis (“able") or -ibilis (“able") + -tas or -ty

    From Wiktionary

  • First attested in the 1300s. From Middle English abilite (“suitability, aptitude, ability”), from Middle French habilité, from Old French ablete, from Latin habilitās (“aptness, ability”), from habilis (“apt, fit, skillful, able”). See also able.

    From Wiktionary