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[fak-uh l-tee] /ˈfæk əl ti/
noun, plural faculties.
an ability, natural or acquired, for a particular kind of action:
a faculty for making friends easily.
one of the powers of the mind, as memory, reason, or speech:
Though very sick, he is in full possession of all his faculties.
an inherent capability of the body:
the faculties of sight and hearing.
exceptional ability or aptitude:
a president with a faculty for management.
  1. the entire teaching and administrative force of a university, college, or school.
  2. one of the departments of learning, as theology, medicine, or law, in a university.
  3. the teaching body, sometimes with the students, in any of these departments.
the members of a learned profession:
the medical faculty.
a power or privilege conferred by the state, a superior, etc.:
The police were given the faculty to search the building.
Ecclesiastical. a dispensation, license, or authorization.
Origin of faculty
1350-1400; Middle English faculte < Anglo-French, Middle French < Latin facultāt- (stem of facultās) ability, power, equivalent to facil(is) easy (see facile) + -tāt- -ty2; cf. facility
Related forms
interfaculty, noun, plural interfaculties, adjective
profaculty, adjective
underfaculty, noun, plural underfaculties.
1. capacity, aptitude, knack, potential, skill. See ability. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for faculties
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then my faculties were unchained, and a shriek broke from my cold lips.

  • Now there was something so compelling about her tone that he bent all his faculties to the task.

  • He must work as earnestly as the man destitute of his faculties.

  • When he recovered his faculties his first sensation was one of great cold.

    The Slave Of The Lamp Henry Seton Merriman
  • Having no external resources, they turned their thoughts inward and led forth their own faculties.

    A Man's Value to Society Newell Dwight Hillis
  • Men are not equal, either in their faculties or in their requirements.

    Freeland Theodor Hertzka
  • The worst passions are but the disorderly exercise of feelings and faculties in themselves good and capable of redemption.

    Lux Mundi Various
  • But where the mind is too deeply interested, there it is that the faculties are most treacherous.

    Imogen William Godwin
  • Scarce, however, had he mastered the alphabet, until the faculties of the deformed began to expand.

British Dictionary definitions for faculties


noun (pl) -ties
one of the inherent powers of the mind or body, such as reason, memory, sight, or hearing
any ability or power, whether acquired or inherent
a conferred power or right
  1. a department within a university or college devoted to a particular branch of knowledge
  2. the staff of such a department
  3. (mainly US & Canadian) all the teaching staff at a university, college, school, etc
all members of a learned profession
(archaic) occupation
Word Origin
C14 (in the sense: department of learning): from Latin facultās capability; related to Latin facilis easy
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 faculties

early 16c., "powers or properties of one's self," also "physical functions;" plural of faculty.



late 14c., "ability, means, resources," from Old French faculté (14c.) "skill, accomplishment, learning," and directly from Latin facultatem (nominative facultas) "power, ability, wealth," from *facli-tat-s, from facilis (see facile).

Academic sense "branch of knowledge" probably was the earliest in English (attested in Anglo-Latin from late 12c.), on notion of "ability in knowledge." Originally each department was a faculty; the use in reference to the whole teaching staff of a college dates from 1767.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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faculties in Medicine

faculty fac·ul·ty (fāk'əl-tē)
A natural or specialized power of a living organism.

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