de·​part·​ment | \ di-ˈpärt-mənt How to pronounce department (audio) \

Definition of department

1a : a distinct sphere : province that's not my department
b : a category consisting especially of a measurable activity or attribute lacking in the trustworthiness department— Garrison Keillor
2 : a functional or territorial division: such as
a : a major administrative division of a government
b : a major territorial administrative subdivision
c : a division of a college or school giving instruction in a particular subject
d : a major division of a business
e : a section of a department store handling a particular kind of merchandise
f : a territorial subdivision made for the administration and training of military units

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Other Words from department

departmental \ di-​ˌpärt-​ˈmen-​tᵊl How to pronounce departmental (audio) , ˌdē-​ \ adjective
departmentally \ di-​ˌpärt-​ˈmen-​tə-​lē How to pronounce departmentally (audio) , ˌdē-​ \ adverb

Examples of department in a Sentence

Your letter has been forwarded to our sales department. When you get to the hospital, go directly to the X-ray department. the university's math and science departments the department of modern languages She joined the town's police department.
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Recent Examples on the Web

All bets are off: College and university athletic departments across the state want the Ohio General Assembly to exclude them from legislation legalizing sports betting, the Statehouse News Bureau’s Jo Ingles reports. Laura Hancock,, "Gun bills to get first Ohio legislative hearings after Dayton shooting: Capitol Letter," 17 Sep. 2019 Police are currently investigating the incident, the New South Wales police department said. Ashley Boucher,, "Cyclist Dies After Crashing Into a Fence While Trying to Avoid a Swooping Bird's Attack," 16 Sep. 2019 The following items were taken from ELmhurst police department reports and releases. Graydon Megan,, "Elmhurst police blotter: Chicago men accused of stealing vacuum cleaners," 16 Sep. 2019 Ring has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks following a spate of media reports about the company's working partnerships with hundreds of police departments around the country. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "Spouse of Ring exec among lawmakers trying to weaken Calif. privacy law," 16 Sep. 2019 School president Carol Folt’s decision to appoint Dave Roberts the interim athletic director over senior associate athletic director Steve Lopes was a clue the plan is for the athletic department to undergo a significant makeover. Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times, "Column: ‘Damn noise’ about Clay Helton’s USC future blaring louder after loss to BYU," 14 Sep. 2019 Mueh — a 1966 AFA grad who, years earlier, was one of those cadets who’d been heckled in Boulder — retired from the Falcons athletic department in January 2015. Sean Keeler, The Denver Post, "Why renewal of CU Buffs-Air Force football game “should’ve been done a long time ago”," 13 Sep. 2019 Its rarity is also a reminder of a sustained disparity: Of the 65 colleges in the nation’s five wealthiest and most powerful sports conferences, only four have women leading the athletic department. Alan Blinder, New York Times, "Countable on One Hand: The Women Leading Power Five Athletic Departments," 13 Sep. 2019 The Aggies are taking it on the chin to help the school’s financially-strapped athletic department, which is trying to pay off a $3 million deficit while maintaining a $20 million budget. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Scouting report: Aztecs at New Mexico State," 9 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'department.' 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 department

1735, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for department

French département, from Old French, act of dividing, from departir

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Statistics for department

Last Updated

1 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for department

The first known use of department was in 1735

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More Definitions for department



English Language Learners Definition of department

: one of the major parts of a company, organization, government, or school
: an area in a store where a particular kind of product is sold
: a subject or activity that a person is interested in or responsible for


de·​part·​ment | \ di-ˈpärt-mənt How to pronounce department (audio) \

Kids Definition of department

: a special part or division of an organization (as a government or college)

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Comments on department

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