- a distinct part of anything arranged in divisions; a division of a complex whole or organized system.
- one of the principal branches of a governmental organization: the sanitation department.
- (initial capital letter) one of the principal divisions of the U.S. federal government, headed by a secretary who is a member of the president's cabinet.
- a division of a business enterprise dealing with a particular area of activity: the personnel department.
- a section of a retail store selling a particular class or kind of goods: the sportswear department.
- one of the sections of a school or college dealing with a particular field of knowledge: the English department.
- one of the large districts into which certain countries, as France, are divided for administrative purposes.
- a division of official business, duties, or functions: judicial departments.
- a sphere or province of activity, knowledge, or responsibility: Paying the bills is not my department.
- (usually initial capital letter) U.S. Army. (formerly) a large geographical division of the U.S. or its possessions as divided for military and defense purposes: the Hawaiian Department.
Origin of department
SynonymsSee more synonyms for department on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for department
Among other things, the bill appropriates $1.1 trillion in funding—including over $550 billion for the Department of Defense.Merry Christmas, Defense Contractors!
Veronique de Rugy
December 22, 2014
The four children were taken into custody by the Department of Social Services.Beaten By His Church for Being Gay
December 16, 2014
Exactly one year earlier, the department lost two firefighters.The Mystery Death Of A Female Firefighter
December 13, 2014
In 1974, 75 members of the group descended on a Copenhagen department store.Before the Bros, SantaCon Was as an Anti-Corporate Protest
December 12, 2014
Within the department there are officers who can speak or understand more than 60 foreign languages.The Wildly Peaceful, Human, Almost Boring, Ultimately Great New York City Protests for Eric Garner
December 8, 2014
They will choose competent and faithful representatives for every department.
No one department of human effort is specially His, or is His special expression.The Conquest of Fear
You see, they put her in my department when she first came here to work.Within the Law
The explanation belongs to the department of meteorology, and not to astronomy.
But he was not certain of the view his department would take.The Secret Agent
- a specialized division of a large concern, such as a business, store, or universitythe geography department
- a major subdivision or branch of the administration of a government
- a branch or subdivision of learningphysics is a department of science
- a territorial and administrative division in several countries, such as France
- informal a specialized sphere of knowledge, skill, or activitywine-making is my wife's department
Word Origin and History for department
mid-15c., "a going away, act of leaving," from Old French departement (12c.) "division, sharing out; divorce, parting," from Late Latin departire (see depart). French department meant "group of people" (as well as "departure"), from which English borrowed the sense of "separate division, separate business assigned to someone in a larger organization" (c.1735). Meaning "separate division of a government" is from 1769. As an administrative district in France, from 1792.