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 Earlier this month, the Denver school board voted unanimously to end its contract with the city's police department, which provided SROs to work in the district's schools. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "5 students tell you why they want police-free schools," 28 June 2020 The police department since Easter has been actively enforcing the Navajo Nation's 57-hour weekend curfews. Chelsea Curtis, The Arizona Republic, ""He was a warrior:" Community mourns of Navajo Nation police officer who died of COVID-19," 27 June 2020 Indeed, the poor and multiracial communities north of the capital have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus, with the department of Seine Saint Denis recording a 120 percent increase in deaths compared with the same period last year. James Mcauley,, "Lack of racial data hinders French response to coronavirus," 27 June 2020 San Francisco’s water department, known for sourcing some of the best supplies in the West, including the bounty of Yosemite National Park, is building its first nature center to commemorate its watersheds. Kurtis Alexander,, "SF breaks ground on nature center near Sunol to spotlight its water," 26 June 2020 Indeed, the poor and multiracial communities north of the capital have been hit especially hard, with the department of Seine Saint Denis recording a 120 percent increase in deaths compared with the same period last year. Washington Post, "How France’s aversion to collecting data on race affects its coronavirus re...," 26 June 2020 Jiffy garment steamers are commercial-grade, upright steamers designed for use in boutiques and department stores, and are increasingly popular for home use. Jolie Kerr, CNN Underscored, "Does steaming your clothes really sanitize them? We find out," 25 June 2020 State Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum said in a statement that the department and Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy directed the additional funding to businesses providing child care, The Anchorage Daily News reported. USA TODAY, "Shah Bar, infected ‘Idol,’ famed mall to close: News from around our 50 states," 24 June 2020 The sheriff's department teamed with Huntsville police to provide the vast majority of law enforcement at the protests. Paul Gattis |, al, "Madison County sheriff says he will give report on protest response in Huntsville," 24 June 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

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Department.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jul. 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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