capacity

1 of 2

noun

ca·​pac·​i·​ty kə-ˈpa-sə-tē How to pronounce capacity (audio)
-ˈpa-stē
plural capacities
1
: legal competency (see competence sense 1) 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
b
: the quantity of electricity that a battery can deliver under specified conditions

capacity

2 of 2

adjective

: equaling maximum capacity
a capacity crowd

Examples of capacity in a Sentence

Noun 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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
It’s estimated that Lake Powell has lost 6.8 percent of its storage capacity due to sediment buildup. Cassidy Randall, Rolling Stone, 18 Feb. 2024 The rickshaw mode offers more space and capacity for transporting people or goods, while the scooter mode offers more speed and maneuverability for solo or duo rides. Kurt Knutsson, Cyberguy Report, Fox News, 17 Feb. 2024 In terms of towing capacity, the Highlander XSE can handle up to 5,000 pounds, suitable for hauling smaller trailers or recreational equipment. Kyle Edward, Forbes, 17 Feb. 2024 Cronenberg’s chief innovation is his capacity to recognize that whether lusting and falling in love are more like body horror or more like reincarnation is merely a matter of emphasis. Becca Rothfeld, The New Yorker, 17 Feb. 2024 Yet at the same time, the medical center also intends to greatly expand its emergency room capacity with a 47% increase in the number of ER beds. George Avalos, The Mercury News, 16 Feb. 2024 But city officials said Thursday the city’s use of the services in question had been in only a minor capacity – for spam-filtering and email-shadowing for disaster-recovery services. Mary Divine, Twin Cities, 15 Feb. 2024 Weight Capacity Weight capacity dictates how much weight the bed frame can accommodate. Erica Reagle, Better Homes & Gardens, 15 Feb. 2024 Battery Life: Plenty of Pep for the Day Samsung boosts the capacity of the Galaxy S24's battery to 4,000mAh, a 100mAh increase over the S23. PCMAG, 6 Feb. 2024
Adjective
This heavy-duty, super-capacity duffle is no exception. Mike Richard, Men's Health, 24 Nov. 2022 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Adjective

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

First Known Use

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1897, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near capacity

Cite this Entry

“Capacity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/capacity. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

capacity

noun
ca·​pac·​i·​ty
kə-ˈpas-ət-ē,
-ˈpas-tē
plural capacities
1
: the ability to hold or contain
the seating capacity of a room
2
: the largest amount or number that can be contained
a jug with a capacity of four liters
the auditorium was filled to capacity
3
: mental or physical ability
4
: position entry 1 sense 4a, function
in your capacity as drama critic

Medical Definition

capacity

noun
ca·​pac·​i·​ty kə-ˈpas-ət-ē, -ˈpas-tē How to pronounce capacity (audio)
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)
(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 capacityMorris Fishbein

Legal Definition

capacity

noun
ca·​pac·​i·​ty
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

More from Merriam-Webster on capacity

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