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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.
capacity ca·pac·i·ty (kə-pās'ĭ-tē)
The measure of potential cubic contents of a cavity or receptacle; volume.
Ability to perform or produce; capability.
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.