ability

[ uh-bil-i-tee ]
/ əˈbɪl ɪ ti /

noun, plural a·bil·i·ties.

power or capacity to do or act physically, mentally, legally, morally, financially, etc.
competence in an activity or occupation because of one's skill, training, or other qualification: the ability to sing well.
abilities, talents; special skills or aptitudes: Composing music is beyond his abilities.

Origin of ability

1350–1400; Middle English (h)abilite < Middle French < Latin habilitās aptitude, equivalent to habili(s) handy (see able) + -tās -ty2; replacing Middle English ablete < Old French < Latin, as above

Related forms

sub·a·bil·i·ty, noun, plural sub·a·bil·i·ties.

Can be confused

ability capacity

Synonym study

2. Ability, faculty, talent denote qualifications or powers. Ability is a general word for power, native or acquired, enabling one to do things well: a person of great ability; ability in mathematics. Faculty denotes a natural ability for a particular kind of action: a faculty of saying what he means. Talent is often used to mean a native ability or aptitude in a special field: a talent for music or art.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for abilities

British Dictionary definitions for abilities

ability

/ (əˈbɪlɪtɪ) /

noun plural -ties

possession of the qualities required to do something; necessary skill, competence, or powerthe ability to cope with a problem
considerable proficiency; natural capabilitya man of ability
(plural) special talents

Word Origin for ability

C14: from Old French from Latin habilitās aptitude, handiness, from habilis able
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