Definition of ability
- the ability of the soil to hold water
- a writer's ability to engage the reader's interest
- did the work to the best of her ability [=as well as she could]
- artistic abilities
- students with different abilities
a young woman with many remarkable musical abilities
a young woman of great musical ability
She has shown some ability with foreign languages.
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.
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
: ability, fitness, or likeliness to act or be acted on in (such) a way
What made you want to look up ability? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
Confusing Words—A Quiz