capacity

noun
ca·​pac·​i·​ty | \ kə-ˈpa-sə-tē How to pronounce capacity (audio) , -ˈpa-stē\
plural capacities

Definition of capacity

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : legal competency (see competence sense 1) or fitness capacity to stand trial
2a : 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
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
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
b : the quantity of electricity that a battery can deliver under specified conditions

capacity

adjective

Definition of capacity (Entry 2 of 2)

: equaling maximum capacity a capacity crowd

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Synonyms for capacity

Synonyms: Noun

complement, cubage, real estate, volume

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

He’d already served in various capacities at the school since 2008, including as its dean of admissions, and at a handful of other small, private colleges (among them Wheelock College, which shut down and merged with Boston University last year). Alia Wong, The Atlantic, "The End of an American College," 18 June 2019 Murphy, who moved to Elgin in 1988, has served in several capacities to benefit the city over the years. Michelle Mullins, Elgin Courier-News, "Elgin News Digest," 14 June 2019 His wondering love for our troubled republic, ironic sense of responsibility for its flaws and improvement, and democratic faith in the civic capacities of his fellow Americans are bracing. Trygve Throntveit, Washington Post, "The message of these ‘civic sermons’: Have faith in your fellow Americans," 14 June 2019 The railroad’s 844 steam operated in revenue capacities until the early ‘60s and has since been employed essentially for excursion trains aimed at railroad aficionados. Tom Bentley, Popular Mechanics, "Why the Big Boy 4014 is Such a Badass Train," 13 June 2019 Attles, who coached the Warriors to the NBA championship in 1975, has worked in the organization in various capacities for nearly 60 years, ever since the club made him its fifth-round draft choice (from North Carolina AT&T) in 1960. Ron Kroichick, SFChronicle.com, "Former Warriors head coach Al Attles attends Game 4 of NBA Finals at Oracle," 7 June 2019 Roughly 2,000 African American troops are believed to have hit the shores of Normandy in various capacities on June 6, 1944. Rebecca Santana, baltimoresun.com, "Fighting Germans and Jim Crow: Marylander Waverly Woodson Jr. was among black troops in combat on D-Day," 6 June 2019 One part of the equation that’s been harder to forecast, especially so this postseason, is how the Warriors’ centers will perform, or even which ones will see the court and in what capacities. Matt Schneidman, The Mercury News, "Unpredictability of Warriors’ centers might be cause for concern," 5 June 2019 Roughly 2,000 African American troops are believed to have hit the shores of Normandy in various capacities on June 6, 1944. NBC News, "Fighting Germans and Jim Crow: Role of black troops on D-Day," 4 June 2019

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.

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First Known Use of capacity

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1897, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for capacity

Noun and Adjective

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

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Statistics for capacity

Last Updated

24 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for capacity

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

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More Definitions for capacity

capacity

noun

English Language Learners Definition of capacity

: 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

noun
ca·​pac·​i·​ty | \ kə-ˈpa-sə-tē How to pronounce capacity (audio) \
plural capacities

Kids Definition of capacity

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 sense 3 The tank has a ten-gallon capacity.
4 : role sense 1, status In your capacity as team captain, you can set a good example.

capacity

noun
ca·​pac·​i·​ty | \ kə-ˈpas-ət-ē, -ˈpas-tē How to pronounce capacity (audio) \
plural capacities

Medical Definition of capacity

1a : 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
3a : 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

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capacity

noun
ca·​pac·​i·​ty
plural capacities

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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Comments on capacity

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