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 The health department is asking the public to report violators by calling the tip line at 844-410-2157 or online at the ADHS Business Compliance page. Brooke Newman, The Arizona Republic, "Glendale gym is 1st gym ordered to close by health department over COVID-19 regulations," 21 Nov. 2020 After months of unrest following Mensah's third fatal shooting in five years in February, the police officer agreed to resign from the department effect Nov. 30. Christopher Kuhagen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "From Gov. Tony Evers to local elected officials, here's the reaction on social media to the Mayfair mall shooting," 21 Nov. 2020 The state health department’s chief operating officer, Dennis R. Schrader, responded in an Aug. 27 letter that UPMC and two urgent care centers offered tests, and the county’s testing rate of more than 21% was the seventh highest in the state. Jean Marbella,, "Allegany County watched from afar as coronavirus hit ‘downstate’ Maryland; now, it’s running rampant through panhandle region," 20 Nov. 2020 On Thursday, 112 of Kentucky's 120 counties were in the red zone for their COVID-19 incidence rates, per a state health department map. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Teachers, parents and students offer mixed reactions to Beshear's COVID-19 school order," 20 Nov. 2020 All of Michigan's 29 prisons have at least one active infection among prisoners or staff, department spokesman Chris Gautz said. Angie Jackson, Detroit Free Press, "New COVID-19 cases in Michigan's prisons hit all-time high," 20 Nov. 2020 The lawsuit is seeking damages, attorney fees and a judgment saying the health department does not have the authority to enforce the governor’s mandates. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Mobile morgues, garage overflow, copper bottle con: News from around our 50 states," 20 Nov. 2020 On Friday morning, El Paso County’s public health department placed area residents at high risk of exposure to coronavirus, with tests in the county showing a 14.5 percent positivity rate. Sig Christenson,, "San Antonio-based Army North sending 60 medical specialists to North Dakota," 20 Nov. 2020 Boore said that back in March, near the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, getting the necessary personal protective equipment for the department was their first major challenge. Penelope Blackwell,, "Carroll Hospital’s respiratory care department given recognition, prepares for influx of patients," 20 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for department

Time Traveler

The first known use of department was in 1735

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Statistics for department

Last Updated

23 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Department.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for department


How to pronounce department (audio)

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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