Definition of capacity
1 : legal competency (see competence 3) or fitness capacity to stand trial
2a : the potential or suitability for holding, storing, or accommodating a large seating capacityb : 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, weight table
3a : 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
6a : capacitanceb : the quantity of electricity that a battery can deliver under specified conditions
Examples of capacity in a Sentence
The nightclub has a 1,000-person capacity.
a bottle with a capacity of two liters
Does he have the capacity to handle this job?
The disease causes a deterioration of breathing capacity.
He was acting in his capacity as judge.
serving in a supervisory capacity
Recent Examples of capacity from the Web
Worse yet, the mismatch between our rhetoric and policy contributes to our own capacity for self-delusion.
The winner and two runners-up won’t be announced until November, but the addition of more black designers in any capacity — all nominees become members, regardless of the awards’ outcome — is a positive step.
In the meantime the Tribal Water Resource Department has had to operate with only 75 percent of its previous water storage capacity.
As leaders in Jewish South Palm Beach County, the Schumans have served in many capacities.
Others say a distinct, ordained role for women—called a deaconess—should be created, while still others disagree that women should be ordained in any capacity.
Pence and Kobach are both named as defendants, sued in their official capacities.
All this also comes amid a wider dispute between Gulf airlines and American carriers, which accuse the Middle East airlines of flooding the market with capacity while receiving billions of dollars of unfair government subsidies.
The tweets ended five months of relative silence from the president on the volatile subject of gender, reintroducing a political vulnerability: his history of demeaning women for their age, appearance and mental capacity.
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
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
Definition of capacity
: equaling maximum capacity a capacity crowd
CAPACITY Defined for English Language Learners
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
Definition of capacity for Students
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.
Medical Definition of capacity
1a: the ability to hold, receive, store, or accommodateb: a measure of content : the measured ability to contain : volume a beaker with a capacity of one liter—see vital capacityc (1): capacitance (2): the quantity of electricity that a battery can deliver under specified conditions
2: legal qualification, competency, power, or fitness
3a: power to grasp and analyze ideas and cope with problemsb: blended power, strength, and ability encourage physical activity to the limit of the child's capacity—Morris Fishbein
Legal Definition of capacity
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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