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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 from the web for capacity
  • We lost the ability to be still, our capacity for idleness.
  • They have lost the ability to be alone, their capacity for solitude.
  • But the subsonic plane has room for 400 passengers, quadruple the Concorde's capacity.
  • The kingdom is the only producer with significant spare capacity to compensate for unexpected supply losses such as Libya's.
  • He becomes an expert navigator and learns the function and capacity of every sail, spar and sheet.
  • Instead they become promiscuous scavengers, taking advantage of a single male's high capacity for mating.
  • This is how you develop your capacity for independent thought.
  • They have redesigned the servers to work at this capacity.
  • Meanwhile the carriers are stuck with providing increased capacity, potentially requiring huge capital investments.
  • Recent government surveillance programs demonstrate our increased capacity for mass surveillance.
British Dictionary definitions for capacity

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 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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capacity 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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capacity in Technology

communications
The maximum possible data transfer rate of a communications channel under ideal conditions. The total capacity of a channel may be shared between several independent data streams using some kind of multiplexing, in which case, each stream's data rate may be limited to a fixed fraction of the total capacity.
(2001-05-22)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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