Definition of ability
1a : the quality or state of being able the ability of the soil to hold water; especially : physical, mental, or legal power to do something a writer's ability to engage the reader's interest did the work to the best of her ability [=as well as she could]b : competence in doing something : skill artistic abilities
2 : natural aptitude or acquired proficiency students with different abilities
Examples of ability in a Sentence
a young woman with many remarkable musical abilities
a young woman of great musical ability
She has shown some ability with foreign languages.
Recent Examples of ability from the Web
His ability to strategize that kept him in Congress for more than 20 years showed through, Fischer said.
Wham said a nagging right shoulder injury suffered by Triantafel impacted the team's ability to advance far.
Their ability to recapitulate the ancient spiders’ innovation got Japyassú, a biologist at the Federal University of Bahia in Brazil, thinking.
Delinquent student loans can hurt a person’s credit score, and affect the ability for a first-time buyer to qualify for a mortgage.
After Democrats won back the governor’s office in November, Republicans have tried to take away the new governor’s ability to appoint judges.
The study did not prove that Mr. Reagan suffered dementia that adversely affected his judgment and ability to make decisions while in office.
In December, the Obama administration blocked the school’s ability to accept federal student aid, a potential death knell.
Not their ability under coach Mike Sullivan to thrive under the pressure that once seemed to crush them.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ability'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of ability
Definition of -ability
: capacity, fitness, or tendency to act or be acted on in a (specified) way agglutinability
ABILITY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of -ability for English Language Learners
: ability, fitness, or likeliness to act or be acted on in (such) a way
ABILITY Defined for Kids
Definition of ability for Students
1 : power to do something The cleaner has the ability to kill germs.
2 : natural talent or acquired skill great musical ability
Definition of -ability for Students
: ability, fitness, or likeliness to act or be acted upon in (such) a way capability visibility
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