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

Hers was the first line-of-duty death in the department in 20 years. Julia Wick,, "Essential California: For whom the mission bell tolls," 21 June 2019 But even the most vigilant individual can inadvertently eat something that could trigger a severe reaction and require a shot of lifesaving epinephrine followed by a visit to the emergency department. STAT, "Assessing the value of new food allergy treatments must include quality of life," 20 June 2019 Facebook established the Oculus Story Studio in 2015 as an in-house film department dedicated to making movies for virtual reality. Aric Jenkins, Fortune, "The Fall and Rise of VR: The Struggle to Make Virtual Reality Get Real," 20 June 2019 Roberts believes turnover in the city's housing department might have something to do with the gaps highlighted in the audit. Robert Wilonsky, Dallas News, "Dallas could be forced to repay millions to HUD after latest critical housing audit," 20 June 2019 Ahead, Pugh tells Refinery29 about her biggest movie fear, how Midsommar compares to Hereditary, and her obsession with the one person who can one-up her in the scream department. Anne Cohen,, "Midsommar Star Florence Pugh Swears Her Cult-y Horror Breakup Movie Isn't That Scary," 20 June 2019 One study published in 2018 estimated that more than 2,000 e-cigarette explosion and burn injuries sent users to US hospital emergency departments from 2015 to 2017. Arman Azad, CNN, "This teen's vape exploded, shattering his jaw," 19 June 2019 The region is also known for seafood and sopa de lima, or lime soup, and Lolito didn’t leave us wanting in this department either. Nancy Ngo, Twin Cities, "Lolito brings unique Latin American flavors to Stillwater," 19 June 2019 Hogan was the vice president of player personnel for the Colts, No. 3 in the department behind general manager Chris Ballard and assistant GM Ed Dodds. Scott Horner, Indianapolis Star, "Colts lose player personnel executive to the Jets," 18 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.

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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

25 Jun 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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having a desire to acquire more things

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