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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The 62-year-old deputy chief had been with the police department for over 38 years and was nearing retirement. Fox News, "NYPD detective found dead in apparent suicide day after deputy chief's suicide," 7 June 2019 According to a federal complaint unsealed Friday, Savard asked for and received $5,000 from the sergeant in exchange for Savard's promise to retire early from the department, so the sergeant could be promoted. Kevin Grasha,, "Cincinnati police captain under investigation by IRS faces bribery charge," 7 June 2019 The officer, who has been with the department for two years, has been placed on administrative leave, routine in police shootings. Dallas News, "Fort Worth officer shot burglary suspect who threatened him, police say," 6 June 2019 Officers cornered Corra in a back yard and tased him, the department said., "Forest Grove police arrest suspected car prowler following foot chase," 6 June 2019 Jason Babcock, a spokesman with the police department. star-telegram, "Red light cameras have already gone dark in these Tarrant County cities," 4 June 2019 Maita Soukup, a spokesperson with the department, said the athletic field is closed until action is taken to remediate it. Frank Kummer,, "Athletic field at popular Point Breeze playground closed after lead found in soil," 4 June 2019 Planned Parenthood sued last week after the state health department said the license would expire last Friday unless seven physicians who have worked at its clinic submitted to interviews. Crystal Thomas, kansascity, "St. Louis judge quashes subpoenas of doctors in Planned Parenthood abortion case," 4 June 2019 At the time of the incident, Morgan had been with the department for three years, and Nahan for nearly five years. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Jury deliberations begin for deputies charged in rough Vista arrest of man, father," 3 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about department

Statistics for department

Last Updated

11 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for department

The first known use of department was in 1735

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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)

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on department

What made you want to look up department? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!