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(1)   A specified function
"He was employed in the capacity of director"
"He should be retained in his present capacity at a higher salary"
(2)   The maximum production possible
"The plant is working at 80 per cent capacity"
(3)   Tolerance for alcohol
"He had drunk beyond his capacity"
(4)   Ability to perform or produce
(5)   The power to learn or retain knowledge; in law, the ability to understand the facts and significance of your behavior
(6)   An electrical phenomenon whereby an electric charge is stored
(7)   (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"
(8)   The amount that can be contained
"The gas tank has a capacity of 12 gallons"
(9)   The susceptibility of something to a particular treatment
"The capability of a metal to be fused"


Middle English, from French capacité from Latin capacitas -itatis, from Latin capax, meaning "able to hold much".


  1. the ability to hold, receive or absorb
  2. a measure of such ability; volume
  3. the maximum amount that can be held
  4. capability; the ability to perform some task
  5. the maximum that can be produced
  6. mental ability; the power to learn
  7. faculty; the potential for growth and development
  8. rôle; the position in which one functions
  9. legal authority (to make an arrest for example)
  10. electrical capacitance
  11. The maximum that can be produced on a machine or in a facility or group.