Origin of department

1730–35; < French département, equivalent to départ(ir) (see depart) + -ment -ment
Related formsde·part·men·tal [dih-pahrt-men-tl, dee-pahrt-] /dɪ pɑrtˈmɛn tl, ˌdi pɑrt-/, adjectivede·part·men·tal·ly, adverbnon·de·part·men·tal, adjectivenon·de·part·men·tal·ly, adverbpre·de·part·men·tal, adjectivesub·de·part·ment, nounsub·de·part·men·tal, adjective

Synonyms for department Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for departmental

Contemporary Examples of departmental

Historical Examples of departmental

  • He was engaged often in departmental work which he could not even explain.

    Mr. Grex of Monte Carlo

    E. Phillips Oppenheim

  • I have placed it in the Canadian room of our Departmental Museum.

    The Story of My Life

    Egerton Ryerson

  • Roger Fauquier had been a departmental clerk for forty years.

  • But it is also, like dressmaking, carried on in shops and in departmental stores.

    The Canadian Girl at Work

    Marjory MacMurchy

  • He was solemnly in earnest about economy and departmental mismanagement.

    Lord Randolph Churchill

    Winston Spencer Churchill

British Dictionary definitions for departmental



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 departmental

1791, "pertaining to a French department," from French départmental, from département (see department). Meaning "of departmental systems generally" from 1832.



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