ap·​ti·​tude ˈap-tə-ˌtüd How to pronounce aptitude (audio)
: inclination, tendency
an aptitude for hard work
: a natural ability : talent
an aptitude for gymnastics
: capacity for learning
an aptitude for languages
: general suitability : aptness
aptitudinal adjective
aptitudinally adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for aptitude

gift, faculty, aptitude, bent, talent, genius, knack mean a special ability for doing something.

gift often implies special favor by God or nature.

the gift of singing beautifully

faculty applies to an innate or less often acquired ability for a particular accomplishment or function.

a faculty for remembering names

aptitude implies a natural liking for some activity and the likelihood of success in it.

a mechanical aptitude

bent is nearly equal to aptitude but it stresses inclination perhaps more than specific ability.

a family with an artistic bent

talent suggests a marked natural ability that needs to be developed.

has enough talent to succeed

genius suggests impressive inborn creative ability.

has no great genius for poetry

knack implies a comparatively minor but special ability making for ease and dexterity in performance.

the knack of getting along

Examples of aptitude in a Sentence

The new test is supposed to measure the aptitudes of the students. bored teenagers with an aptitude for getting into trouble
Recent Examples on the Web There, Jeff’s aptitude for all things science became apparent and his siblings became unwilling participants in his experiments. Alex Gurley, Peoplemag, 17 May 2024 But his aptitude for music offered a different path. Steve Lohr, New York Times, 16 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for aptitude 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'aptitude.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, "tendency, likelihood," borrowed from Medieval Latin aptitūdō, going back to Late Latin, "fitness," from Latin aptus "fastened, prepared, suitable, fitting" + -i- -i- + -tūdō -tude — more at apt entry 1

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of aptitude was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near aptitude

Cite this Entry

“Aptitude.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aptitude. Accessed 30 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


ap·​ti·​tude ˈap-tə-ˌt(y)üd How to pronounce aptitude (audio)
: ability to learn : aptness
: a natural ability
an aptitude for mathematics

Medical Definition


ap·​ti·​tude ˈap-tə-ˌt(y)üd How to pronounce aptitude (audio)
: a natural or acquired capacity or ability
especially : a tendency, capacity, or inclination to learn or understand

More from Merriam-Webster on aptitude

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