ca·​pa·​bil·​i·​ty | \ˌkā-pə-ˈbi-lə-tē \
plural capabilities

Definition of capability 

1 : the quality or state of being capable also : ability The mayor has demonstrated his capability to handle municipal problems.

2 : a feature or faculty capable of development : potentiality This vacant urban district has great capabilities.

3 : the facility or potential for an indicated use or deployment the capability of a metal to be fused nuclear capability

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Examples of capability in a Sentence

The device has the capability of recording two television channels at once. the nature of the tasks to which you are assigned will depend on your capabilities

Recent Examples on the Web

Marketers that are spending more time and money on digital marketing often grapple with the pitfalls of advanced digital ad capabilities, such as fraudulent activity and a lack of transparency into where their ads land on the web. Alexandra Bruell, WSJ, "Ad Verification Company Integral Ad Science Taps Former Yahoo Executive as CEO," 12 Dec. 2018 With the rise in new payment security capabilities, like chip technology and tokenization, the time was right to remove this step from the checkout experience. Rachel Sugar, Vox, "Why are we still signing credit card receipts?," 5 Dec. 2018 All photos courtesy of Aero Teardrops Teardrop trailers are making a comeback in the camper industry, praised for their compact size, easy towing capabilities, and small luxuries. Megan Barber, Curbed, "Custom teardrop trailer uses a rooftop tent to camp a family," 3 Oct. 2018 Mapping capabilities, especially for uploading and following a course, were always better, and the measured data (heart rate, power, cadence) via ANT+ devices made them far more useful tools for athletes. Aaron Gulley, Outside Online, "Garmin Edge 1030 vs. the iPhone X," 29 June 2018 Combined with the malware's firmware-corrupting capability, that suggests the hackers behind the router malware could be preparing a mass disruption that might take down hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian networks simultaneously. Andy Greenberg, WIRED, "Stealthy, Destructive Malware Infects Half a Million Routers," 23 May 2018 This year, Amazon paid $1 billion for an online pharmacy called PillPack Inc. to acquire the capability to ship prescription drugs. Laura Stevens, WSJ, "Big Tech Expands Footprint in Health," 27 Nov. 2018 This was a more-or-less secretive contract with the DoD that was essentially leveraging Google’s artificial intelligence capabilities to build surveillance for drones. Shirin Ghaffary, Recode, "After 20,000 workers walked out, Google said it got the message. The workers disagree.," 21 Nov. 2018 Switches like these are the beginning of what’s possible in adding computing capabilities to living cells. Eric Smalley, Discover Magazine, "Cellular Cyborgs: How Programmable DNA Strands Might Control Healing," 25 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'capability.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of capability

1587, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for capability

see capable

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Dictionary Entries near capability






capable de tout


Statistics for capability

Last Updated

16 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for capability

The first known use of capability was in 1587

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More Definitions for capability



English Language Learners Definition of capability

: the ability to do something


ca·​pa·​bil·​i·​ty | \ˌkā-pə-ˈbi-lə-tē \
plural capabilities

Kids Definition of capability

: ability sense 1 That job is beyond my capability.

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Comments on capability

What made you want to look up capability? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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