noun, plural fac·ul·ties.

  1. an ability, natural or acquired, for a particular kind of action: a faculty for making friends easily.
  2. one of the powers of the mind, as memory, reason, or speech: Though very sick, he is in full possession of all his faculties.
  3. an inherent capability of the body: the faculties of sight and hearing.
  4. exceptional ability or aptitude: a president with a faculty for management.
  5. Education.
    1. the entire teaching and administrative force of a university, college, or school.
    2. one of the departments of learning, as theology, medicine, or law, in a university.
    3. the teaching body, sometimes with the students, in any of these departments.
  6. the members of a learned profession: the medical faculty.
  7. a power or privilege conferred by the state, a superior, etc.: The police were given the faculty to search the building.
  8. Ecclesiastical. a dispensation, license, or authorization.

noun plural -ties

  1. one of the inherent powers of the mind or body, such as reason, memory, sight, or hearing
  2. any ability or power, whether acquired or inherent
  3. a conferred power or right
    1. a department within a university or college devoted to a particular branch of knowledge
    2. the staff of such a department
    3. mainly US and Canadianall the teaching staff at a university, college, school, etc
  4. all members of a learned profession
  5. archaic occupation

late 14c., “ability, means, resources,” from Old French faculté (14c.) “skill, accomplishment, learning,” and directly from Latin facultatem (nominative facultas) “power, ability, wealth,” from *facli-tat-s, from facilis (see facile).

Academic sense “branch of knowledge” probably was the earliest in English (attested in Anglo-Latin from late 12c.), on notion of “ability in knowledge.” Originally each department was a faculty; the use in reference to the whole teaching staff of a college dates from 1767.


  1. A natural or specialized power of a living organism.

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