Dictionary.com

ability

[ uh-bil-i-tee ]
/ əˈbɪl ɪ ti /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: ability / abilities on Thesaurus.com

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.

COMPARE MEANINGS

Click for a side-by-side comparison of meanings. Use the word comparison feature to learn the differences between similar and commonly confused words.
QUIZ
WILL YOU SAIL OR STUMBLE ON THESE GRAMMAR QUESTIONS?
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

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

synonym study for ability

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.

OTHER WORDS FROM ability

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

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH ability

ability , capacity

Other definitions for ability (2 of 2)

-ability

a combination of -able and -ity, found on nouns corresponding to adjectives ending in -able: capability.

Origin of -ability

Middle English -abilite, from French -abilité, from Latin -ābilitās (inflectional stem -ābilitāt- )
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use ability in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for ability

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
FEEDBACK