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

There is no data on how many public servants have received help through the dispute process, according to the department. Danielle Douglas-gabriel, Houston Chronicle, "The dizzying journey for public servants with student debt," 17 Aug. 2019 Police have arrested two additional people in connection with last month’s beating of a man at the entrance to the Washington Hilton Hotel near Dupont Circle, according to the department. Washington Post, "Two additional arrests made in July beating," 16 Aug. 2019 The Correctional Training Facility provides houses around 5,400 minimum- and medium-custody inmates, according to the department. Phil Helsel, NBC News, "200 inmates riot at California prison; dozens injured," 15 Aug. 2019 In a reverse of last year, Rancho Bernardans experienced fewer crimes during the first half 2019, and the only increases were small, according to the police department’s recently released crime statistics. Elizabeth Marie Himchak, Pomerado News, "Crime declines in Rancho Bernardo during first half of year," 14 Aug. 2019 Crandon Beach South and Haulover Beach South were unsafe for swimming due to high levels of fecal bacteria, according to the health department. Brooke Baitinger,, "Blame it on the rain: Downpours bring poopy beaches," 14 Aug. 2019 After being taken to the police department’s West Precinct, the girl was released to her parents and the man was booked into King County Jail. Christine Clarridge, The Seattle Times, "Seattle police criticized for arrest of crying 13-year-old girl who used wrong ‘chalk paint’ during climate-change protest," 12 Aug. 2019 But scientists who don't have a connection to the department take a different view. Dan Joling, Anchorage Daily News, "Scientists warn of too many pink salmon in North Pacific," 11 Aug. 2019 Clearly, such a coup for Manchester United or Arsenal would owe as much to the recruiting department as to the players on the pitch. M.j., The Economist, "Man City’s and Liverpool’s rivals have copied their transfer strategy," 10 Aug. 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

20 Aug 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).


a usually brief trip or an expedition

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Dictionary Devil

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!