Nearby words

  1. depants,
  2. depardieu,
  3. depart,
  4. departed,
  5. departee,
  6. department of agriculture,
  7. department of commerce,
  8. department of defense,
  9. department of education,
  10. department of energy

Origin of department

1730–35; < French département, equivalent to départ(ir) (see depart) + -ment -ment

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for department

British Dictionary definitions for department



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
Derived Formsdepartmental (ˌdiːpɑːtˈmɛntəl), adjectivedepartmentally, adverb

Word Origin for department

C18: from French département, from départir to divide; see depart

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

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper