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n. pl. ca·pa·bil·i·ties
1. The quality of being capable; ability.
2. often capabilities A talent or ability that has potential for development or use: a student of great capabilities.
3. The capacity to be used, treated, or developed for a specific purpose: nuclear capability.


n, pl -ties
1. the quality of being capable; ability
2. the quality of being susceptible to the use or treatment indicated: the capability of a metal to be fused.
3. (usually plural) a characteristic that may be developed; potential aptitude


(ˌkeɪ pəˈbɪl ɪ ti)

n., pl. -ties.
1. the quality of being capable; capacity; ability.
2. the ability to undergo or be affected by a given treatment or action.
3. Usu., capabilities. qualities, abilities, features, etc., that can be used or developed; potential.


The ability to execute a specified course of action. (A capability may or may not be accompanied by an intention.)



Do not confuse ability with capability and capacity.

1. 'ability'

You often use ability to say that someone can do something well.

He had remarkable ability as a musician.
...the ability to bear hardship.
2. 'capability'

A person's capability is the amount of work they can do and how well they can do it.

...a job that was beyond the capability of one man.
...the director's ideas of the capability of the actor.
3. 'capacity'

If someone has a particular capacity, a capacity for something, or a capacity to do something, they have the qualities required to do it. Capacity is a more formal word than ability.

...their capacity for hard work.
...his capacity to see the other person's point of view.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.capability - the quality of being capable -- physically or intellectually or legally; "he worked to the limits of his capability"
associability, associableness - the capability of being easily associated or joined or connected in thought
ability - the quality of being able to perform; a quality that permits or facilitates achievement or accomplishment
defensibility - capability of being defended; "they built their castles with an eye to their defensibility"; "client complaints create a felt need for the defensibility of individual actions"
executability - capability of being executed; "the job is executable for two million dollars"; "this contract is not executable"
capacity - capability to perform or produce; "among his gifts is his capacity for true altruism"; "limited runway capacity"; "a great capacity for growth"
military capability, military posture, military strength, strength, posture - capability in terms of personnel and materiel that affect the capacity to fight a war; "we faced an army of great strength"; "politicians have neglected our military posture"
operating capability, performance capability - the capability of a technological system to perform as intended
overkill - the capability to obliterate a target with more weapons (especially nuclear weapons) than are required
incapability, incapableness - the quality of not being capable -- physically or intellectually or legally
2.capability - the susceptibility of something to a particular treatment; "the capability of a metal to be fused"
resistance - the capacity of an organism to defend itself against harmful environmental agents; "these trees are widely planted because of their resistance to salt and smog"
susceptibility, susceptibleness - the state of being susceptible; easily affected
activity - (chemistry) the capacity of a substance to take part in a chemical reaction; "catalytic activity"
3.capability - an aptitude that may be developed
aptitude - inherent ability
perfectibility - the capability of becoming perfect; "he believes in the ultimate perfectibility of man"
grasp, compass, reach, range - the limit of capability; "within the compass of education"
imperfectibility - the capability of becoming imperfect
incapability, incapableness - lack of potential for development



Physical, mental, financial, or legal power to perform:
قدره، براعة، كفاءه
hæfileiki, færni


[ˌkeɪpəˈbɪlɪtɪ] N (= competence) → competencia f; (= potential ability) → capacidad f
to have the capability to do sthser capaz de hacer algo, tener capacidad para hacer algo
the capability for rational thoughtla capacidad de raciocinio
within/beyond one's capabilitiesdentro de/más allá de sus posibilidades
military/nuclear capabilitypotencial m militar/nuclear


[ˌkeɪpəˈbɪlɪti] n
[person] → aptitude f, capacité f
to be beyond sb's capabilities → être au-dessus des capacités de qn
to be within sb's capabilities → être dans les capacités de qn
[society, country] → capacité f


(= potential ability)Fähigkeit f; (no pl: = capableness also) → Kompetenz f; something is within somebody’s capabilitiesjd ist zu etw fähig; something is beyond somebody’s capabilitiesetw übersteigt jds Fähigkeiten
(Mil) → Potenzial nt, → Potential nt


[ˌkeɪpəˈbɪlətɪ] n (no pl, competence) → capacità, competenza, abilità; (potential ability) → possibilità f inv


(ˈkeipəbl) adjective
1. clever especially in practical ways. She'll manage somehow – she's so capable!
2. (with of) clever enough to; likely to; able to. He is capable of doing better; He is quite capable of cheating us.
ˈcapably adverb
ˌcapaˈbility noun
References in classic literature ?
Jo rather prided herself upon her shopping capabilities, and particularly wished to impress her escort with the neatness and dispatch with which she would accomplish the business.
It is a kind of natural magic that enables these favored ones to bring out the hidden capabilities of things around them; and particularly to give a look of comfort and habitableness to any place which, for however brief a period, may happen to be their home.
We undertook to work the plantation together; and Alfred, whose outward life and capabilities had double the strength of mine, became an enthusiastic planter, and a wonderfully successful one.
There is in fact a sort of harmony discoverable between the capabilities of the landscape within a circle of ten miles' radius, or the limits of an afternoon walk, and the threescore years and ten of human life.
Its character as a ballroom caught him; and instead of passing on, he stopt for several minutes at the two superior sashed windows which were open, to look in and contemplate its capabilities, and lament that its original purpose should have ceased.
And if, as I said, it was necessary that the people of Israel should be captive so as to make manifest the ability of Moses; that the Persians should be oppressed by the Medes so as to discover the greatness of the soul of Cyrus; and that the Athenians should be dispersed to illustrate the capabilities of Theseus: then at the present time, in order to discover the virtue of an Italian spirit, it was necessary that Italy should be reduced to the extremity that she is now in, that she should be more enslaved than the Hebrews, more oppressed than the Persians, more scattered than the Athenians; without head, without order, beaten, despoiled, torn, overrun; and to have endured every kind of desolation.
That is to say, though not exactly he, I resemble him in this respect, that I work according to my capabilities, and so far as in me lies.
Bright's audacity (so far as that endowment might avail) had enabled him to take full advantage of whatever capabilities they offered.
I paused for a second to concentrate all my capabilities of enjoyment, and then immerged my lips in the clear element before me.
Now all admire, in each high-flavored dish The capabilities of flesh—fowl—fish; In order due each guest assumes his station, Throbs high his breast with fond anticipation, And prelibates the joys of mastication.
Crawford was the first to move forward to examine the capabilities of that end of the house.
In his opinion the powers of the intellect held intimate connection with the capabilities of the stomach.