noun, plural a·bil·i·ties.

  1. power or capacity to do or act physically, mentally, legally, morally, financially, etc.
  2. competence in an activity or occupation because of one’s skill, training, or other qualification: the ability to sing well.
  3. abilities, talents; special skills or aptitudes: Composing music is beyond his abilities.

  1. a combination of -able and -ity, found on nouns corresponding to adjectives in -able: capability.

noun plural -ties

  1. possession of the qualities required to do something; necessary skill, competence, or powerthe ability to cope with a problem
  2. considerable proficiency; natural capabilitya man of ability
  3. (plural) special talents

late 14c., from Old French ableté “expert at handling (something),” from Latin habilitatem (nominative habilitas) “aptitude,” noun of quality from habilis “easy to manage, handy” (see able). One case where a Latin silent -h- failed to make a return in English (despite efforts of 16c.-17c. scholars); see H.

word-forming element expressing ability, fitness, or capacity, from Latin -abilitas, forming nouns from adjectives ending in -abilis (see -able). Not etymologically related to ability, though popularly connected with it.

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