- possession of the qualities required to do something; necessary skill, competence, or power
- considerable proficiency; natural capability: a man of ability
- (plural) special talents
WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
- power or skill to do, make, or think;
talent: [uncountable]has the ability to do well.[countable]His abilities are many.
- -ability, a combination of -able and -ity, is used to form nouns from adjectives that end in -able:capable (adjective) → capability (noun); reliable (adjective) → reliability (noun).
- power or capacity to do or act physically, mentally, legally, morally, financially, etc.
- competence in an activity or occupation because of one's skill, training, or other qualification:the ability to sing well.
- abilities, talents;
special skills or aptitudes:Composing music is beyond his abilities.
- Latin, as above
- Old French
- Latin habilitās aptitude, equivalent. to habili(s) handy (see able) + -tās -ty2; replacing Middle English ablete
- Middle French
- Middle English (h)abilite 1350–1400
- 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged capability;
proficiency, expertness, dexterity.
- 2.See corresponding entry in Unabridged Ability, faculty, talent denote qualifications or powers. Ability is a general word for power, native or acquired, enabling one to do things well:a person of great ability; ability in mathematics.Faculty denotes a natural ability for a particular kind of action:a faculty of saying what he means.Talent is often used to mean a native ability or aptitude in a special field:a talent for music or art.
- Middle English -abilite