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

Investing in offensive hypersonic capabilities and hypersonic missile defense is a top priority for the Department of Defense (DoD), according to the Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering, Dr. Michael Griffin. Henry Obering Iii, Fortune, "I Used to Direct the Missile Defense Agency. America Needs New Weapons," 5 July 2018 Even so, the Saudis’ military capabilities are questionable. The Economist, "Insecurity complexGulf states fear being encircled by Iran and abandoned by America," 21 June 2018 Two can be played both singleplayer and co-op, with easy drop-in-drop-out capability. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "EA Play at E3 2018: Madden NFL comes to the PC, Battlefield V battle royale, Anthem reveal," 9 June 2018 American icebreaker capability has been declining as other countries rev up. Adam Aton, Scientific American, "U.S. Still Lags Behind in Preparing for a Changing Arctic," 8 June 2018 The North made rapid strides in its offensive capabilities last year, testing not only its first thermonuclear device but its first ballistic missiles capable of reaching the continental United States. Matt Stiles,, "Just before summit was called off, North Korea announced demolition of its nuclear test site," 24 May 2018 While currently limited in capability, voice assistants can help users to order items online, play a song, or set a timer. Courtney Linder, The Christian Science Monitor, "Voice assistants can't understand Pittsburghese," 19 Apr. 2018 For the most part, there’s not a huge difference between the capabilities of the Ionic, which launched last year, and the Versa. Amy Marturana, SELF, "The Fitbit Versa Is the Sleek Smartwatch I've Been Waiting For," 26 May 2018 McMullen then puts Henry into demo mode, using the front-facing camera on his phone, to show me the full capability of his face. Allison P. Davis, The Cut, "Are We Ready for Robot Sex?," 13 May 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


Phrases Related to capability

nuclear capability

Statistics for capability

Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

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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).


not any or not one

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