What does ability mean?

Definitions for ability
əˈbɪl ɪ tiabil·i·ty

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word ability.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. abilitynoun

    the quality of being able to perform; a quality that permits or facilitates achievement or accomplishment

  2. ability, powernoun

    possession of the qualities (especially mental qualities) required to do something or get something done

    "danger heightened his powers of discrimination"


  1. abilitynoun

    The quality or state of being able.

  2. abilitynoun

    A skill or competence in doing.

  3. abilitynoun

    A high level of skill or competence.

  4. abilitynoun

    Physical, mental or legal power to perform.

  5. abilitynoun


  6. Etymology: * First attested from before 1398.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Abilitynoun

    Etymology: Habileté, Fr.

    Of singing thou hast got the reputation,
    Good Thyrsis, mine I yield to thy ability;
    My heart doth seek another estimation. Philip Sidney, b. i.

    If aught in my ability may serve
    To heighten what thou suffer’st, and appease
    Thy mind with what amends is in my pow’r. John Milton, Sampson Agonistes, l. 744.

    They gave after their ability unto the treasure of the work. Ezra ii. 69.

    If any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ. 1 Pet. iv. 11.

    Children in whom there was no blemish, but well-favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace. Dan. i. 4.

    Wherever we find our abilities too weak for the performance, he assures us of the assistance of his holy spirit. John Rogers, Sermons.

    Whether it may be thought necessary, that in certain tracts of country, like what we call parishes, there should be one man, at least, of abilities to read and write? Jonathan Swift, Arguments against abolishing Christianity.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Abilitynoun

    the quality or state of being able; power to perform, whether physical, moral, intellectual, conventional, or legal; capacity; skill or competence in doing; sufficiency of strength, skill, resources, etc.; -- in the plural, faculty, talent

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Ability

    a-bil′i-ti, n. quality of being able: power: strength: skill.—n.pl. Abil′ities, the powers of the mind. [O. Fr. ableté (Fr. habileté)—L. habilitashabilis, easily handled, from habēre, to have, hold. See Able.]

Editors Contribution

  1. ability

    The feeling, understanding, power and knowing of being able.

    We are all able to do various tasks in life.

    Submitted by MaryC on January 25, 2020  

  2. ability

    The quality of being able.

    She was ableto do anything her heart desires.

    Submitted by MaryC on January 15, 2020  

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'ability' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1104

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'ability' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1688

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'ability' in Nouns Frequency: #422

How to pronounce ability?

How to say ability in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of ability in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of ability in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of ability in a Sentence

  1. Li Dongsheng:

    I advise the government to further lower value-added tax, and if implemented, it will effectively boost the profit-making ability of the manufacturing industry.

  2. Brian Flewelling:

    We continue to track SJ-21 and monitor it for conjunctions with all known space objects. The ability to maintain custody of SJ-21 after this large daytime maneuver is an important and unique capability of Exo’s commercial SSA network.

  3. Bob Arum:

    Bob Arum responded by telling the Post that Terence Crawford is claiming racism to cover up Terence Crawford own failures. Do n’t call a man a racist when really this is because of your own failures, his marketability did n’t measure up to this ability and that has absolutely nothing to do with what race he is … The outstanding fact is that Terence’s numbers on PPV have always been dreadful because of his failure to market himself.

  4. Fran DeWine:

    Here is the truth : With or without a test, the virus is here. It lives among us... We must be at war with it, this enemy is dangerous, it is relentless, and it is using us as its host.... We do have it within our ability to fight back. When you stop moving, when I stop moving, it stops moving. It can't reach someone else.

  5. Craig McMullen:

    As long as there's no lethal removal of bison, our ability to remove them is greatly diminished.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for ability

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for ability »


Find a translation for the ability definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:

Discuss these ability definitions with the community:



    Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


    "ability." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 31 Jan. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/ability>.

    Are we missing a good definition for ability? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Browse Definitions.net

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!


    Are you a words master?

    expressing yourself easily or characterized by clear expressive language
    • A. eminent
    • B. articulate
    • C. elusive
    • D. arbitrary

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for ability: