fac·​ul·​ty | \ ˈfa-kəl-tē \
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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Choose the Right Synonym for faculty

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

Students and faculty have raised concerns over the billions of dollars in incentives as many colleges have had their budgets cut. Katie Honan, WSJ, "CUNY Coders Hope to Fill Amazon’s Queens Headquarters," 24 Dec. 2018 Universities spend millions every year on academic journal subscriptions for their students and faculty. Brian Resnick, Vox, "Europe has a plan to force academic publishers to make research free to read," 24 Sep. 2018 Student and faculty have been asking for Silent Sam to be taken down for years. Christopher Carbone, Fox News, "Which Confederate statues were removed? A running list," 21 Aug. 2018 According to Wim Wiewel, current president of Lewis & Clark University and co-editor of The University as Urban Developer, schools had a surplus of land and a need to create an attractive community for students and faculty. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Universities, chasing the startup economy, reshape urban real estate," 7 Aug. 2018 According to one faculty member on the team, the Air Force Academy’s drone is set for a September 2019 test at Dugway Proving Ground. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The U.S. Air Force Academy Is Building Its Own 40-Foot Stealth Drone," 12 Dec. 2018 The plaintiffs excluded recruited athletes, children of alumni, and children of faculty, arguing that these groups received preferential treatment. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "A Timeline of the Harvard Affirmative Action Lawsuit," 2 Nov. 2018 Nearly 40 percent of faculty and staff drove alone to campus in 2017. Asia Fields, The Seattle Times, "UW labor union ratifies contract after tense negotiations," 2 Oct. 2018 Needless to say, some of the faculty opposed it as racist and sexist. Fox News, "Kavanaugh confirmation fight looms over midterm elections," 15 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

15 Jan 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

faculty : faculty members or teachers

: one of the powers of your mind or body


fac·​ul·​ty | \ ˈfak-əl-tē \
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 \
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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