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

Head of the Press and Promotions department, Jo Donnelly, said in a statement. Hannah Malach, Billboard, "Executive Turntable: Moves at Songtrust, Dualtone, Monument Records & More," 30 Aug. 2019 The corrections department and a workgroup of parole and probation officers, county directors and members of the legislative fiscal office participated in the study. oregonlive, "Multnomah County commissioners approve $2.6 million in public safety cuts due to reduced state funding," 30 Aug. 2019 According to a federal complaint, Savard asked for and received $5,000 from a sergeant in exchange for Savard's promise to retire early from the department so the sergeant could be promoted. Cameron Knight,, "Former Cincinnati police captain to plead guilty to bribery charge," 29 Aug. 2019 From the writers, to the cast, to the hair, makeup, and wardrobe departments, I am surrounded by women supporting me in my work. Ashley Nicole Black, Glamour, "Ashley Nicole Black Is Having a Big Bitch Summer," 29 Aug. 2019 The 19-month-old boy was tuning blue and cold to the touch when officers arrived, according to a social media post from the department. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "Watch: CPR training pays off for Kentucky police during crisis situation," 28 Aug. 2019 The demonstration took place in the lobby at 250 Frank Ogawa Plaza, which houses the building, planning and public works departments, the fire prevention bureau, and other city services. Sarah Ravani,, "Oakland workers stage ‘unity break’ to protest impasse in contract talks," 28 Aug. 2019 Kevin French is also upset about the lack of contact from the police department following the shooting of his entire family. Hollie Silverman, CNN, "The parents of a nonverbal man killed by an off-duty officer in Costco say they want to see video of the shooting," 27 Aug. 2019 While Skinner was recently pushed out of the department, the fact that she was charged specifically with developing the administration’s strategy for China strongly suggests that the administration is considering containment. Benjamin Studebaker, The New Republic, "The Real Stakes of Trump’s Trade War With China," 27 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.

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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

3 Sep 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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