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(1)   A specialized sphere of knowledge
"Baking is not my department"
"His work established a new department of literature"
(2)   A specialized division of a large organization
"You'll find it in the hardware department"
"She got a job in the historical section of the Treasury"
(3)   The territorial and administrative division of some countries (such as France)


  1. A part, portion, or subdivision.
  2. A distinct course of life, action, study, or the like; appointed sphere or walk; province.
    • Superior to Pope in Pope's own peculiar department of literature. Thomas Babington Macaulay.
  3. Subdivision of business or official duty; especially, one of the principal divisions of executive government; as, the treasury department; the war department; also, in a university, one of the divisions of instructions; as, the medical department; the department of physics.
  4. A territorial division; a district; esp., in France, one of the districts composed of several arrondissements into which the country is divided for governmental purposes; as, the Department of the Loire.
  5. A military subdivision of a country; as, the Department of the Potomac.
  6. Act of departing; departure.
    • Sudden departments from one extreme to another. Wotton.