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capacity

[kuh-pas-i-tee] /kəˈpæs ɪ ti/
noun, plural capacities.
1.
the ability to receive or contain:
This hotel has a large capacity.
2.
the maximum amount or number that can be received or contained; cubic contents; volume:
The inn is filled to capacity. The gasoline tank has a capacity of 20 gallons.
3.
power of receiving impressions, knowledge, etc.; mental ability:
the capacity to learn calculus.
4.
actual or potential ability to perform, yield, or withstand:
He has a capacity for hard work. The capacity of the oil well was 150 barrels a day. She has the capacity to go two days without sleep.
5.
quality or state of being susceptible to a given treatment or action:
Steel has a high capacity to withstand pressure.
6.
position; function; role:
He served in the capacity of legal adviser.
7.
legal qualification.
8.
Electricity.
  1. capacitance.
  2. maximum possible output.
adjective
9.
reaching maximum capacity:
a capacity audience; a capacity crowd.
Origin
late Middle English
1375-1425
1375-1425; late Middle English capacite < Middle French < Latin capācitāt- (stem of capācitās), equivalent to capāci-, stem of capāx roomy (cap(ere) to hold + -āci- adj. suffix) + -tāt- -ty2
Can be confused
ability, capacity.
Synonyms
2. dimensions, amplitude. 3. endowment, talent, gifts. 4. aptitude, adequacy, competence, capability.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for capacities
  • He discusses the various types of poetry, testing their capacities for teaching and moving the reader.
  • Capitalism had developed human powers and capacities beyond all previous measure.
  • Since then, we've worked together in various capacities.
  • After all, computer capacities and capabilities are constantly increasing.
  • Someone should sit down and plot a graph of the heat capacities of the solar planets versus orbit.
  • Not only could application performance suffer, but desktop apps could also suck battery capacities dry.
  • Children also grant new capacities and privileges to the machine world on the basis of its animation if not its life.
  • He wants them to stretch their mental capacities beyond basketball, which he believes can pay off on the court and in life.
  • These capacities are then distributed amongst the various carriers in the country who want to fly to the other side.
  • And linguistic capacities in babies are shaped by the environment they grow up in.
British Dictionary definitions for capacities

capacity

/kəˈpæsɪtɪ/
noun (pl) -ties
1.
the ability or power to contain, absorb, or hold
2.
the amount that can be contained; volume a capacity of six gallons
3.
  1. the maximum amount something can contain or absorb (esp in the phrase filled to capacity)
  2. (as modifier) a capacity crowd
4.
the ability to understand or learn; aptitude; capability he has a great capacity for Greek
5.
the ability to do or produce (often in the phrase at capacity) the factory's output was not at capacity
6.
a specified position or function he was employed in the capacity of manager
7.
a measure of the electrical output of a piece of apparatus such as a motor, generator, or accumulator
8.
(electronics) a former name for capacitance
9.
(computing)
  1. the number of words or characters that can be stored in a particular storage device
  2. the range of numbers that can be processed in a register
10.
the bit rate that a communication channel or other system can carry
11.
legal competence the capacity to make a will
Word Origin
C15: from Old French capacite, from Latin capācitās, from capāx spacious, from capere to take
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for capacities

capacity

n.

early 15c., from Middle French capacité "ability to hold" (15c.), from Latin capacitatem (nominative capacitas) "breadth, capacity, capability of holding much," noun of state from capax (genitive capacis) "able to hold much," from capere "to take" (see capable). Meaning "largest audience a place can hold" is 1908.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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capacities in Medicine

capacity ca·pac·i·ty (kə-pās'ĭ-tē)
n.

  1. The measure of potential cubic contents of a cavity or receptacle; volume.

  2. Ability to perform or produce; capability.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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