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Related to capability: Negative capability


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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


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
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(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.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


The ability to execute a specified course of action. (A capability may or may not be accompanied by an intention.)
Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. US Department of Defense 2005.



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.
Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


Physical, mental, financial, or legal power to perform:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[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
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(= 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
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˌkeɪpəˈbɪlətɪ] n (no pl, competence) → capacità, competenza, abilità; (potential ability) → possibilità f inv
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(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
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
But I have discerned in you an elevation of thought and a capability of devotedness, which I had hitherto not conceived to be compatible either with the early bloom of youth or with those graces of sex that may be said at once to win and to confer distinction when combined, as they notably are in you, with the mental qualities above indicated.
The great charm of your sex is its capability of an ardent self-sacrificing affection, and herein we see its fitness to round and complete the existence of our own.
If her talent had been ten-fold greater than it was, it would not have surprised him, convinced as he was that he had bequeathed to all of his daughters the germs of a masterful capability, which only depended upon their own efforts to be directed toward successful achievement.
For in spite of some additional reading and observation, there was nothing else he could make so much money by; nay, he found in himself even a capability of extending his skill in this direction, and embracing all forms of cookery; while, in other branches of human labour, he began to see that it was not possible for him to shine.
Miss Ophelia had just the capability of indignation that belongs to the thorough-paced housekeeper, and this had been pretty actively roused by the artifice and wastefulness of the child; in fact, many of my lady readers must own that they should have felt just so in her circumstances; but Marie's words went beyond her, and she felt less heat.
Everything that was interesting in Rebecca, and every evidence of power, capability, or talent afterwards displayed by her, Miranda ascribed to the brick house training, and this gave her a feeling of honest pride, the pride of a master workman who has built success out of the most unpromising material; but never, to the very end, even when the waning of her bodily strength relaxed her iron grip and weakened her power of repression, never once did she show that pride or make a single demonstration of affection.
Dantes, struck with the beauty and capability of the little vessel, applied to its owner to transfer it to him, offering sixty thousand francs, upon condition that he should be allowed to take immediate possession.
Captain Bonneville endeavored to reassure his men by representing the position of their encampment, and its capability of defence.
Found in a Bottle," "A Descent Into a Maelstrom" and "The Balloon Hoax"; such tales of conscience as "William Wilson," "The Black Cat" and "The Tell-tale Heart," wherein the retributions of remorse are portrayed with an awful fidelity; such tales of natural beauty as "The Island of the Fay" and "The Domain of Arnheim"; such marvellous studies in ratiocination as the "Gold-bug," "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Purloined Letter" and "The Mystery of Marie Roget," the latter, a recital of fact, demonstrating the author's wonderful capability of correctly analyzing the mysteries of the human mind; such tales of illusion and banter as "The Premature Burial" and "The System of Dr.
We will not pretend to say that Heaven always apportions to a man's capability of endurance the anguish with which he afflicts him; for that, indeed, would not be true, since Heaven permits the existence of death, which is, sometimes, the only refuge open to those who are too closely pressed - too bitterly afflicted, as far as the body is concerned.
Jennings would have persuaded her, at its conclusion, to take some rest before her mother's arrival, and allow HER to take her place by Marianne; but Elinor had no sense of fatigue, no capability of sleep at that moment about her, and she was not to be kept away from her sister an unnecessary instant.
I admire Agatha's courage and capability, and believe I shall be able to make her like me, and that the attachment so begun may turn into as close a union as is either healthy or necessary between two separate individuals.

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