capacity

Capacity describes your ability to do something or the amount something can hold. If your bird cage is at full capacity, you can't stuff one more feathered friend in there without causing a birdie claustrophobia.

From the Latin word capacitatem meaning “breadth, capacity,” capacity is a noun that in the simplest sense means "ability" or "capability": the capability of a room to hold a certain number of people, the ability of a law to change crime rates, your ability to pick up foreign languages. You might hear about factories working at "full capacity" — that means at full speed, producing as much as they possibly can.

PRIMARY MEANINGS OF: capacity

1
n
capability to perform or produce
2
n
the amount that can be contained
3
n
the power to learn or retain knowledge; in law, the ability to understand the facts and significance of your behavior
4
n
an electrical phenomenon whereby an electric charge is stored
5
n
the susceptibility of something to a particular treatment
FULL DEFINITIONS OF: capacity
1

n capability to perform or produce

“among his gifts is his capacity for true altruism”
“limited runway capacity
“a great capacity for growth”
Antonyms:
incapacity
lack of physical or natural qualifications
Type of:
capability, capableness
the quality of being capable -- physically or intellectually or legally

n a specified function

“he was employed in the capacity of director”
“he should be retained in his present capacity at a higher salary”
Type of:
function, office, part, role
the actions and activities assigned to or required or expected of a person or group
2

n the amount that can be contained

“the gas tank has a capacity of 12 gallons”
Synonyms:
content
Types:
vital capacity
the maximum amount of air that can be exhaled after a maximum inhalation (usually tested with a spirometer); used to determine the condition of lung tissue
Type of:
volume
the amount of 3-dimensional space occupied by an object

n (computer science) the amount of information (in bytes) that can be stored on a disk drive

“the capacity of a hard disk drive is usually expressed in megabytes”
Types:
formatted capacity
(computer science) the usable capacity of a disk drive; the amount of space that is left after the sector headings and boundary definitions and timing information have been added by formatting the disk
unformatted capacity
(computer science) the total number of bytes on a disk including the space that will be required to format it
Type of:
indefinite quantity
an estimated quantity

n the maximum production possible

“the plant is working at 80 per cent capacity
Type of:
production
(economics) manufacturing or mining or growing something (usually in large quantities) for sale

n tolerance for alcohol

“he had drunk beyond his capacity
Type of:
tolerance
the power or capacity of an organism to tolerate unfavorable environmental conditions
3

n the power to learn or retain knowledge; in law, the ability to understand the facts and significance of your behavior

Synonyms:
mental ability
Antonyms:
incapacity
lack of intellectual power
Types:
prescience, prevision
the power to foresee the future
Type of:
ability, power
possession of the qualities (especially mental qualities) required to do something or get something done
4

n an electrical phenomenon whereby an electric charge is stored

Synonyms:
capacitance, electrical capacity
Type of:
electrical phenomenon
a physical phenomenon involving electricity
5

n the susceptibility of something to a particular treatment

Synonyms:
capability
Types:
resistance
the capacity of an organism to defend itself against harmful environmental agents
activity
(chemistry) the capacity of a substance to take part in a chemical reaction
Type of:
susceptibility, susceptibleness
the state of being susceptible; easily affected
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