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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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

When a user requested an article, Sci-Hub automatically downloaded that article from publisher databases, using borrowed faculty credentials. Joe Karaganis, Washington Post, "Russia is building a new Napster — but for academic research," 13 July 2018 The Fox business school touts an enrollment of more than 9,000 students and has more than 200 full-time faculty. Susan Snyder, Philly.com, "AG's office opens probe into Temple business school scandal," 13 July 2018 But those only allowed faculty or administrators to carry guns in schools, and usually the guns are kept in secured lockers. Matthew Choi, star-telegram, "Guns chill free speech, UT Austin professors will argue at federal appeals court," 11 July 2018 Together, participants will attend master classes taught by instrumental faculty; be coached daily at chamber music sessions; and play in the full ensemble. Susan B. Barnes, USA TODAY, "Leave the kids behind: Summer camp for adults," 6 July 2018 The students at both schools were selected by the faculty and the American Legion Post for their scholastic and leadership abilities. Courant Community, "Community News For The Windsor Locks Edition," 2 July 2018 The report was written by Hillard Heintze, a private security firm in Chicago hired by the school to work with a student-faculty task force on an independent investigation of the incident. Ryan Smith, Chicago Reader, "Loyola clears campus police of using excessive force against students of color in viral video," 21 June 2018 Dedication to Student Success The Mount’s smaller class sizes with an 11:1 student-faculty ratio create intimate learning opportunities with educators, advocates, and mentors. Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati.com, "Mount St. Joseph University: Education on a Mission," 7 May 2018 In 1958, he was recruited to join the faculty at what became Chicago State University. Graydon Megan, chicagotribune.com, "Edmund Kearney, started history department at Chicago State University and wrote book about the school's first 100 years, dies," 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

8 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for faculty

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

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More Definitions for faculty



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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