fac·​ul·​ty | \ ˈfa-kəl-tē How to pronounce faculty (audio) \
plural faculties

Definition of faculty

1 : ability, power: such as
a : innate or acquired ability to act or do man … how infinite in faculty— William Shakespeare
b : an inherent capability, power, or function the faculty of hearing
c : any of the powers of the mind (such as will, reason, or instinct) formerly held by psychologists to form a basis for the explanation of all mental phenomena
d : natural aptitude has a faculty for saying the right things
2a : a branch of teaching or learning (such as law, medicine, or liberal arts) in an educational institution
b archaic : something in which one is trained or qualified
3a : the members of a profession
b : the teaching and administrative staff and those members of the administration having academic rank in an educational institution an excellent mathematics faculty
c faculty plural : faculty members many faculty were present
4 : power, authority, or prerogative given or conferred The state has the faculty to define treason.

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Synonyms for faculty



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gift, faculty, aptitude, bent, talent, genius, knack mean a special ability for doing something. gift often implies special favor by God or nature. the gift of singing beautifully faculty applies to an innate or less often acquired ability for a particular accomplishment or function. a faculty for remembering names aptitude implies a natural liking for some activity and the likelihood of success in it. a mechanical aptitude bent is nearly equal to aptitude but it stresses inclination perhaps more than specific ability. a family with an artistic bent talent suggests a marked natural ability that needs to be developed. has enough talent to succeed genius suggests impressive inborn creative ability. has no great genius for poetry knack implies a comparatively minor but special ability making for ease and dexterity in performance. the knack of getting along

Examples of faculty in a Sentence

She's a member of the Harvard faculty. The school hired more faculty. a meeting with students and faculty She has a faculty for making friends. The Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Over the last year, the dental school cut the equivalent of 34 full-time faculty and staff and still lost $2 million in the last fiscal year. Michelle Baruchman, The Seattle Times, "Trump pick for acting defense secretary brings a knack for complex issues honed at UW, Boeing," 24 Dec. 2018 Today, nearly 28,000 students, faculty and staff work and study on Yale’s campus. WSJ, "Yale Is Right to Actively Cultivate Diversity," 28 Apr. 2019 Foxconn said UW-Madison students along with staff, faculty and researchers would collaborate to support research and development initiatives in various areas, including medicine and computer and data sciences. Scott Bauer, The Seattle Times, "Foxconn buys building across street from Wisconsin Capitol," 12 Apr. 2019 The Duke of Sussex's last public engagement was at St. Vincent's Catholic Primary School last Wednesday (March 20) to meet faculty and students and plant a tree in the school garden. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince Harry Reportedly Lightened His Workload to Be with Meghan Markle as Her Due Date Approaches," 27 Mar. 2019 Alison and Mona seem to live near or on campus, meaning that other faculty and staff might also live nearby. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Everything You Need to Know About Beacon Heights University on "Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists"," 21 Mar. 2019 Winner: Dick’s Sporting Goods In February, after a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 students and faculty and injuring more than a dozen others, the nation was in gridlock over gun control. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "A breakdown of this year’s brand winners and losers.," 27 Dec. 2018 But there are too many examples of justices serving after their faculties began to fail; Chief Justice William Rehnquist, for instance, missed 44 oral arguments in 2004 and 2005, after undergoing a tracheotomy to fight thyroid cancer. Ezra Klein, Vox, "Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the case for 18-year Supreme Court terms," 26 Dec. 2018 The effect of the injury upon the man seems to have been the destruction of the equilibrium between his intellectual faculties and the animal propensities. Daniel C. Schlenoff, Scientific American, "“Foul Treachery” of Trotsky and Lenin in 1918; Phineas Gage’s Brain in 1868," 13 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'faculty.' 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 faculty

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for faculty

Middle English faculte "power, ability, field of knowledge, branch of learning at a university," borrowed from Anglo-French faculté, borrowed from Medieval Latin facultāt-, facultās (Latin, "power, ability, opportunity, quantity available"), from Latin *faklis, earlier form of facilis "easy, accommodating" + -tāt-, -tās -ty — more at facile

Note: Latin facultās presumably developed from an original *faklitāts (via *fakl̥tāts > *fakiltāts > facultās), and hence is a doublet of facilitās "quality of being easily performed" (see facility), a derivative formed after facilis had assumed its attested form (with *-klis > -cilis). The difference in meaning between the two derivatives suggests the original adjective *faklis may have meant something like "possessing the power, able" (whence "easily done," conforming to other adjectives in -ilis).

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Statistics for faculty

Last Updated

21 May 2019

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Time Traveler for faculty

The first known use of faculty was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of faculty

: the group of teachers in a school or college
US : faculty members or teachers
: one of the powers of your mind or body


fac·​ul·​ty | \ ˈfak-əl-tē How to pronounce faculty (audio) \
plural faculties

Kids Definition of faculty

1 : ability to do something : talent He has a faculty for making friends.
2 : one of the powers of the mind or body the faculty of hearing
3 : the teachers in a school or college


fac·​ul·​ty | \ ˈfak-əl-tē How to pronounce faculty (audio) \
plural faculties

Medical Definition of faculty

1a : an inherent capability, power, or function the faculty of hearing digestive faculty
b : one of the powers of the mind formerly held by psychologists to form a basis for the explanation of all mental phenomena
2a : the members of a profession
b : the teaching and administrative staff and those members of the administration having academic rank in an educational institution

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Comments on faculty

What made you want to look up faculty? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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