WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
a•bil•i•ty /əˈbɪlɪti/USA pronunciation   n., pl.  -ties. 
  1. power or skill to do, make, or think;
    talent: [uncountable]has the ability to do well.[countable]His abilities are many.
See -habil-.
-ability,  suffix. 
  1. -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).

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017
a•bil•i•ty  (ə bili tē),USA pronunciation n., pl.  -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.
  • 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.

  • a combination of  -able and  -ity, found on nouns corresponding to adjectives in  -able: capability.
    • Middle English -abilite Latin -ābilitās

    Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

    ability /əˈbɪlɪtɪ/ n ( pl -ties)
    1. possession of the qualities required to do something; necessary skill, competence, or power
    2. considerable proficiency; natural capability: a man of ability
    3. (plural) special talents
    Etymology: 14th Century: from Old French from Latin habilitās aptitude, handiness, from habilis able

    'ability' also found in these entries:

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    Look up "ability" at Merriam-Webster
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