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

  • n. The ability to receive, hold, or absorb.
  • n. A measure of this ability; volume.
  • n. The maximum amount that can be contained: a trunk filled to capacity.
  • n. Ability to perform or produce; capability.
  • n. The maximum or optimum amount that can be produced: factories operating below capacity.
  • n. The power to learn or retain knowledge; mental ability.
  • n. Innate potential for growth, development, or accomplishment; faculty. See Synonyms at ability.
  • n. The quality of being suitable for or receptive to specified treatment: the capacity of elastic to be stretched.
  • n. The position in which one functions; role: in your capacity as sales manager.
  • n. Legal qualification or authority: the capacity to make an arrest.
  • n. Electricity Capacitance.
  • adj. Filling a space with the most it can hold: a capacity crowd at the concert.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The ability to hold, receive or absorb
  • n. A measure of such ability; volume
  • n. The maximum amount that can be held
  • n. Capability; the ability to perform some task
  • n. The maximum that can be produced.
  • n. Mental ability; the power to learn
  • n. A faculty; the potential for growth and development
  • n. A role; the position in which one functions
  • n. Legal authority (to make an arrest for example)
  • n. Electrical capacitance.
  • n. The maximum that can be produced on a machine or in a facility or group.
  • adj. Filling the allotted space.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The power of receiving or containing; extent of room or space; passive power; -- used in reference to physical things.
  • n. The power of receiving and holding ideas, knowledge, etc.; the comprehensiveness of the mind; the receptive faculty; capability of understanding or feeling.
  • n. Ability; power pertaining to, or resulting from, the possession of strength, wealth, or talent; possibility of being or of doing.
  • n. Outward condition or circumstances; occupation; profession; character; position.
  • n. Legal or moral qualification, as of age, residence, character, etc., necessary for certain purposes, as for holding office, for marrying, for making contracts, wills, etc.; legal power or right; competency.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The power of receiving or containing; specifically, the power of containing a certain quantity exactly; cubic contents.
  • n. Receptivity; susceptibility to being passively affected in any way; power of receiving impressions, or of being acted upon.
  • n. Active power; ability: as, mental capacity; the capacity of a substance to resist pressure.
  • n. Ability in a moral or legal sense; legal qualification; legal power or right: as, a man or a corporation may have a capacity to give or receive and hold estate; A was present at the meeting in his capacity of director (that is, in virtue of his legal qualification as a director).
  • n. Hence Character; profession; occupation; function.
  • n. A license; authorization.
  • n. Synonyms Dimensions.
  • n. Aptitude, Faculty (see genius), turn, forte, aptness; Ability, Capacity (see ability).
  • n. Office, sphere, post, function.
  • n. The ability of a stream to transport land-waste, measured by the quantity carried past a given point in a given time.

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

  • n. the maximum production possible
  • n. the susceptibility of something to a particular treatment
  • n. the amount that can be contained
  • n. tolerance for alcohol
  • n. a specified function
  • n. (computer science) the amount of information (in bytes) that can be stored on a disk drive
  • n. the power to learn or retain knowledge; in law, the ability to understand the facts and significance of your behavior
  • n. capability to perform or produce
  • n. an electrical phenomenon whereby an electric charge is stored


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

Middle English capacite, from Old French, from Latin capācitās, from capāx, capāc-, spacious; see capacious.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from French capacité, from Latin capacitas, from capax ("able to hold much"), from capere ("to hold, contain").


  • All those things are time-binding phenomena produced by the time-binding capacity of man; but man has _not_ known that _this capacity_ was his

    Manhood of Humanity.

  • I have not, perhaps, in the course of the lecture, insisted enough on the nature of relative capacity and individual character, as the roots of all real _value_ in Art. We are too much in the habit, in these days, of acting as if Art.worth a price in the market were a commodity which people could be generally taught to produce, and as if the _education_ of the artist, not his _capacity_, gave the sterling value to his work.

    A Joy For Ever (And Its Price in the Market)

  • Yet notwithstanding these circumstances, so favourable to the exclusion of error, the result is a higher specific inductive capacity for sulphur than for any other body as yet tried; and though this may in part be clue to the sulphur being in a better shape, i.e. filling up more completely the space _o, o_, (fig. 104.) than the cups of shell-lac and glass, still I feel satisfied that the experiments altogether fully prove the existence of a difference between dielectrics as to their power of favouring an inductive action through them; which difference may, for the present, be expressed by the term _specific inductive capacity_.

    Experimental Researches in Electricity, Volume 1

  • That leap in capacity is due to the different wavelengths of light carrying the data.

    Boing Boing: September 12, 2004 - September 18, 2004 Archives

  • This capacity is a priority for survival in this Revolution and for whatever is coming next.

    Can we talk?

  • But he sees only a slight risk from what he calls "capacity exuberance" in the current upswing.

    Michelin Steps on the Gas

  • IHSS will do an assessment to see what your capacity is and what you need help with and how many hours per week you require assistance, then they come up with a formula and they will pay for part or all of that care.

    Idelle Davidson: Chemo Side Effects: Is 'Chemo Brain' a Disability Under the Americans With Disabilities Act?

  • On our part as the Organisation, we would like to make a significant step forward on what we call capacity development to create additional knowledge, additional layers of people who are very skilled in verification monitoring, who understand the issues behind those technologies and who can help to carry out [inaudible].

    Transcript: CTBTO (Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation) press conference

  • They have a long way to go, but America is committed to what we call capacity building.

    CNN Transcript Jan 4, 2010

  • Since neither pleasure nor pain can be experienced without consciousness; and since consciousness finds its substratum not in the body but in the soul; we are driven to the conclusion that what we call the capacity of the body for pleasure and pain is really the capacity of the soul for pleasure and pain.

    The Complex Vision


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  • I would say "in its capacity as", but I would never say "in the capacity as".

    *curious now* Where did you see this one, qroqqa?

    January 29, 2009

  • I've never heard any American say that. In fact, I've never heard or seen that construction before. How odd.

    January 28, 2009

  • Uhh... I would suggest USAans not say that. It sounds so very very wrong. Did you see it in the news somewhere?

    January 28, 2009

  • This morning's discovery: you can say 'in the capacity as'. Or at least USAans can: it has comparable numbers to the more common 'in the capacity of'. I'd never seen this construction before.

    January 28, 2009