or state of being
able; strength to perform, whether physical, moral, intellectual, conventional, or legal; ability; skill
in doing; sufficiency of power, skill, resources, etc.; in the plural, faculty, talent. "Then the disciples, each man
according to his
capacity, certain to send relief
unto the brethren." (Acts xi. 29) "Natural abilities are like natural
plants, that need
pruning by study." (Bacon) "The popular men
of England, with many
of a peculiar kind
of ability." (Macaulay)
Ability and ability
collation when applied to the higher intellectual powers. Capacity has reference
to the active
exercice of our faculties. It implies not only native vigor
of mind, but
that ease and promptitude of execution which arise
training. Thus, we say
of the capacity
with which a book
is written, an argument
maintained, a negotiation
carried on, etc. It always something to be done, and the strength of doing it.
Capacity has reference
to the receptive
powers. In its higher exercises it supposes great quickness of apprehension and breadth of intellect, with an uncommon aptitude
for acquiring and retaining knowledge. Hence it carries with it the idea
of resources and undeveloped power.
abilities, in the plural, embraces both these qualities, and denotes tall mental
Synonym: Ability, talent, cleverness, faculty, capability, efficiency, aptitude, aptness, address, dexterity, skill.
Origin: F. Habilete, earlier spelling
habilite (with silent
h), L. Habilitas aptitude, capacity, fr. Habilis apt.