Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An inherent ability, as for learning; a talent. See Synonyms at ability.
  • n. Quickness in learning and understanding; intelligence.
  • n. The condition or quality of being suitable; appropriateness.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Natural ability to acquire knowledge or skill.
  • n. The condition of being suitable.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A natural or acquired disposition or capacity for a particular purpose, or tendency to a particular action or effect.
  • n. A general fitness or suitableness; adaptation.
  • n. Readiness in learning; docility; aptness.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The state or quality of being apt or fit for or suited to a purpose, place, or situation; fitness; suitableness.
  • n. A natural tendency or acquired inclination; both capacity and propensity for a certain course: as, oil has an aptitude to burn; men acquire an aptitude to particular vices.
  • n. Readiness in learning; teachableness; quickness to understand and acquire; intelligence; talent.
  • n. Synonyms Faculty, Capacity, etc. See genius.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. inherent ability

Etymologies

Middle English, tendency, from Late Latin aptitūdō, aptitude, from Latin aptus, apt; see apt.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Medieval Latin aptitudo, from Latin aptus ("apt, fit"); see apt. Compare attitude, which is a doublet of aptitude. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • By then, the word aptitude, implying that students were being tested for natural fitness or inborn talent, would no longer do.

    The English Is Coming!

  • I agree that any genetic differences in aptitude probably predated selective breeding by slave owners.

    Think Progress » New basketball league open to whites only, to get away from the ‘street-ball’ played by ‘people of color.’

  • Now, however, "fresh research adds to the debate about gender difference in aptitude for mathematics, including efforts to explain the relative scarcity of women among professors of science, math, and engineering."

    Apollo's Daughter :: July 25th, 2008

  • A study by the RAND Corporation, commissioned by the Pentagon and published in 2005, evaluated several factors that affect military performance — experience, training, aptitude, and so forth — and found that aptitude is key.

    GOP Debate–Hardly Any Mention Of Immigration

  • And in one of the first long-term aptitude studies, researchers found that preemies aren't necessarily destined for a lifetime of learning problems.

    Preemies Grow Up

  • Making the admiration sexual rather than based on aptitude is one way to avoid recognizing the lack of said quality in himself.

    Breakfast in Bed

  • Despite the committees 'rhetorical emphasis on scientists, the real idea was to defer a whole class of people -- those high in aptitude, no matter what their field.

    The Great Sorting

  • On the other hand, MacMillan never went on to the Olympics because natural aptitude is not sufficient in itself.

    Message of Munich

  • It was interesting and Rilla discovered a certain aptitude in herself for it that surprised her.

    Rilla of Ingleside

  • In fact, Peter’s scientific aptitude is pretty much gone in this film, aside from him talking to a professor who has examined a piece of the symbiotic black suit.

    Current Movie Reviews, Independent Movies - Film Threat

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "They will judge you and your aptitude for success by your written messages."- The Readers Handbook, Catherine Stephens Ph.D, pg.385

    December 1, 2010

  • I seem to have been born with an aptitude for a way of life that was doomed, although I did not understand that at the time. Wendell Berry "A Native Hill"

    July 19, 2008