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[key-puh-bil-i-tee] /ˌkeɪ pəˈbɪl ɪ ti/
noun, plural capabilities.
the quality of being capable; capacity; ability:
His capability was unquestionable.
the ability to undergo or be affected by a given treatment or action:
the capability of glass in resisting heat.
Usually, capabilities. qualities, abilities, features, etc., that can be used or developed; potential:
Though dilapidated, the house has great capabilities.
Origin of capability
1580-90; (< Middle French capabilité) < Late Latin capābili(s) capable + -ty2
Related forms
overcapability, noun, plural overcapabilities.
supercapability, noun, plural supercapabilities. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for capabilities
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He sees at once the capabilities of a tale, but he will not use it except he may do with it what he pleases.

    A Dish Of Orts George MacDonald
  • They are strangely suggestive of the capabilities of the art.

  • He was daily growing to have a higher opinion of her wisdom and capabilities.

    Fair Harbor

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln
  • He would have been the last to blame her for this; her estimate of his capabilities was like his own, that was all.

    Shavings Joseph C. Lincoln
  • His capabilities may be small or great; if he but use them all, he is a success.

British Dictionary definitions for capabilities


noun (pl) -ties
the quality of being capable; ability
the quality of being susceptible to the use or treatment indicated: the capability of a metal to be fused
(usually pl) a characteristic that may be developed; potential aptitude
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for capabilities



1580s, from capable + -ity. Capabilities "undeveloped faculty or property" is attested from 1778.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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