1

capacity

noun ca·pac·i·ty \ kə-ˈpa-sə-tē , -ˈpas-tē \
Updated on: 16 Nov 2017

Definition of capacity

plural capacities
1 : legal competency (see competence 3) or fitness
  • capacity to stand trial
2 a : the potential or suitability for holding, storing, or accommodating
  • a large seating capacity
b : the maximum amount or number that can be contained or accommodated
  • a jug with a one-gallon capacity
  • the auditorium was filled to capacity
— see Metric System Table, Weights and Measures Table
3 a : an individual's mental or physical ability : aptitude, skill
  • He has the capacity to handle this job.
  • Her breathing capacity has deteriorated.
b : the faculty or potential for treating, experiencing, or appreciating
  • capacity for love
4 : duty, position, role
  • will be happy to serve in any capacity
5 : the facility or power to produce, perform, or deploy : capability
  • a plan to double the factory's capacity
; also : maximum output
  • industries running at three-quarter capacity
6 a : capacitance
b : the quantity of electricity that a battery can deliver under specified conditions

Examples of capacity in a Sentence

  1. The nightclub has a 1,000-person capacity.

  2. a bottle with a capacity of two liters

  3. Does he have the capacity to handle this job?

  4. The disease causes a deterioration of breathing capacity.

  5. He was acting in his capacity as judge.

  6. serving in a supervisory capacity

Recent Examples of capacity from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of capacity

Middle English capacite, from Medieval French capacité, from Latin capacitat-, capacitas, from capac-, capax


2

capacity

adjective

Definition of capacity

: equaling maximum capacity
  • a capacity crowd

Origin and Etymology of capacity



CAPACITY Defined for English Language Learners

capacity

noun

Definition of capacity for English Language Learners

  • : the ability to hold or contain people or things

  • : the largest amount or number that can be held or contained

  • : the ability to do something : a mental, emotional, or physical ability


CAPACITY Defined for Kids

capacity

noun ca·pac·i·ty \ kə-ˈpa-sə-tē \

Definition of capacity for Students

plural capacities
1 : ability to contain or deal with something
  • The room has a large seating capacity.
  • Factories are working to capacity.
2 : mental or physical power
  • You have the capacity to do better.
3 : volume 3
  • The tank has a ten-gallon capacity.
4 : role 1, status
  • In your capacity as team captain, you can set a good example.

Medical Dictionary

capacity

noun ca·pac·i·ty \ kə-ˈpas-ət-ē, -ˈpas-tē \

medical Definition of capacity

plural capacities
1 a : the ability to hold, receive, store, or accommodate
b : a measure of content : the measured ability to contain : volume
  • a beaker with a capacity of one liter
— see vital capacity
c (1) : capacitance
(2) : the quantity of electricity that a battery can deliver under specified conditions
2 : legal qualification, competency, power, or fitness
3 a : power to grasp and analyze ideas and cope with problems
b : blended power, strength, and ability
  • encourage physical activity to the limit of the child's capacity
  • —Morris Fishbein

Law Dictionary

capacity

noun ca·pac·i·ty

legal Definition of capacity

plural capacities
1 : a qualification, power, or ability (as to give consent or make a testament) created by operation of law
2 : an individual's ability or aptitude; especially : mental ability as it relates to responsibility for the commission of a crime (as murder) — see also diminished capacity — compare competency, incapacity, insanity


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