What does capacity mean?

Definitions for capacity
kəˈpæs ɪ tica·pac·i·ty

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word capacity.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. capacitynoun

    capability to perform or produce

    "among his gifts is his capacity for true altruism"; "limited runway capacity"; "a great capacity for growth"

  2. capability, capacitynoun

    the susceptibility of something to a particular treatment

    "the capability of a metal to be fused"

  3. capacity, contentnoun

    the amount that can be contained

    "the gas tank has a capacity of 12 gallons"

  4. capacitynoun

    the maximum production possible

    "the plant is working at 80 per cent capacity"

  5. capacitynoun

    a specified function

    "he was employed in the capacity of director"; "he should be retained in his present capacity at a higher salary"

  6. capacitynoun

    (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"

  7. capacitance, electrical capacity, capacitynoun

    an electrical phenomenon whereby an electric charge is stored

  8. capacity, mental abilitynoun

    the power to learn or retain knowledge; in law, the ability to understand the facts and significance of your behavior

  9. capacitynoun

    tolerance for alcohol

    "he had drunk beyond his capacity"


  1. capacitynoun

    The ability to hold, receive or absorb

  2. capacitynoun

    A measure of such ability; volume

  3. capacitynoun

    The maximum amount that can be held

  4. capacitynoun

    Capability; the ability to perform some task

  5. capacitynoun

    The maximum that can be produced.

  6. capacitynoun

    Mental ability; the power to learn

  7. capacitynoun

    A faculty; the potential for growth and development

  8. capacitynoun

    A role; the position in which one functions

  9. capacitynoun

    Legal authority (to make an arrest for example)

  10. capacitynoun

    Electrical capacitance.

  11. capacitynoun

    The maximum that can be produced on a machine or in a facility or group.

    Its capacity rating was 150 tons per hour, but its actual maximum capacity was 200 tons per hour.

  12. capacityadjective

    Filling the allotted space.

    There will be a capacity crowd at Busch stadium for the sixth game.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Capacitynoun

    Etymology: capacité, Fr.

    Had our palace the capacity
    To camp this host, we would all sup together. William Shakespeare.

    Notwithstanding thy capacity
    Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there,
    Of what validity and pitch soe’er,
    But falls into abatement and low price. William Shakespeare, Tw. Night.

    For they that most and greatest things embrace,
    Enlarge thereby their mind’s capacity,
    As streams enlarg’d, enlarge the channel’s space. Davies.

    Space, considered in length, breadth, and thickness, I think, may be called capacity. John Locke.

    No intellectual creature in the world, is able, by capacity, to do that which nature doth without capacity and knowledge. Richard Hooker, b. i. § 3.

    In spiritual natures, so much as there is of desire, so much there is also of capacity to receive. I do not say, there is always a capacity to receive the very thing they desire; for that may be impossible. South.

    An heroick poem requires the accomplishment of some extraordinary undertaking; which requires the strength and vigour of the body, the duty of a soldier, and the capacity and prudence of a general. John Dryden, Juv. Dedication.

    Since the world’s wide frame does not include
    A cause with such capacities endu’d,
    Some other cause o’er nature must preside. Richard Blackmore.

    There remained, in the capacity of the exhausted cylinder, store of little rooms, or spaces, empty or devoid of air. Boyle.

    A miraculous revolution, reducing many from the head of a triumphant rebellion, to their old condition of masons, smiths, and carpenters; that, in this capacity, they might repair what, as colonels and captains, they had ruined and defaced. South.

    You desire my thoughts as a friend, and not as a member of parliament; they are the same in both capacities. Jonathan Swift.


  1. capacity

    Capacity refers to the maximum amount that something can contain, produce, absorb or utilize. It can be applied to various contexts, including physical attributes (like the volume a container can hold), mental attributes (such as the ability to learn), system performance (like data capacity in computing) or operational efficiency (like the number of goods a factory can produce). In essence, it is the potential or capability of an object, person, system or process.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Capacitynoun

    the power of receiving or containing; extent of room or space; passive power; -- used in reference to physical things

  2. Capacitynoun

    the power of receiving and holding ideas, knowledge, etc.; the comprehensiveness of the mind; the receptive faculty; capability of undestanding or feeling

  3. Capacitynoun

    ability; power pertaining to, or resulting from, the possession of strength, wealth, or talent; possibility of being or of doing

  4. Capacitynoun

    outward condition or circumstances; occupation; profession; character; position; as, to work in the capacity of a mason or a carpenter

  5. Capacitynoun

    legal or noral qualification, as of age, residence, character, etc., necessary for certain purposes, as for holding office, for marrying, for making contracts, will, etc.; legal power or right; competency


  1. Capacity

    The capacity of both natural and legal persons determines whether they may make binding amendments to their rights, duties and obligations, such as getting married or merging, entering into contracts, making gifts, or writing a valid will. Capacity is an aspect of status and both are defined by a person's personal law: ⁕for natural persons, the law of domicile or lex domicilii in common law jurisdictions, and either the law of nationality or lex patriae, or of habitual residence in civil law states; ⁕for legal persons, the law of the place of incorporation, the lex incorporationis for companies while other forms of business entity derive their capacity either from the law of the place in which they were formed or the laws of the states in which they establish a presence for trading purposes depending on the nature of the entity and the transactions entered into. When the law limits or bars a person from engaging in specified activities, any agreements or contracts to do so are either voidable or void for incapacity. Sometimes such legal incapacity is referred to as incompetence. For comparison, see Competence (law).

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Capacity

    kap-as′i-ti, n. power of holding or grasping a thing: room: volume: power of mind: character: position enabling one to do something.—adj. Capā′cious, including much: roomy: wide: extensive.—adv. Capā′ciously.—n. Capā′ciousness.—v.t. Capac′itate, to make capable: to qualify; Capacity for heat, power of absorbing heat.—Legal capacity, the power to alter one's rights or duties by the exercise of free-will, or responsibility to punishment for one's acts. [Fr.,—L. capacitas,—capĕre, to take, hold.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. capacity

    Burden, tonnage, fitness for the service, rating.

Editors Contribution

  1. capacity

    Power to do, feel, know and understand.

    His capacity to change and shift his perception was amazing.

    Submitted by MaryC on January 15, 2020  

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'capacity' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1768

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'capacity' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2486

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'capacity' in Nouns Frequency: #746

How to pronounce capacity?

How to say capacity in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of capacity in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of capacity in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of capacity in a Sentence

  1. Sartaj Aziz:

    Our assessment is that their capacity in Afghanistan is much, much bigger - probably 80/90 percent compared to what it is here. And what is here is also being cleaned out as a part of our operations.

  2. Yanzhong Huang:

    Both have pursued a' zero-Covid strategy,' both have a large unvaccinated elderly population, and in addition( both) have not invested in public health surge capacity building before the Omicron wave arrived, and in China, you have a large percentage of the general population that have not been exposed to the virus, because of zero-Covid, or that are vaccinated with vaccines that( studies show) are not effective in preventing infection.

  3. Defense Mark Esper:

    What we're talking about is the need for thousands of beds. We can provide in a field hospital 248 and we only have so many field hospitals so I see us playing this role where we're the gap filler for a period of weeks with our capabilities once the capacity is met through these other mechanisms.

  4. Kristalina Georgieva:

    It will continue to be so important, even more important, for us to be able to expand our capacity to support countries that have fallen behind.

  5. Rahul Koranne:

    We were already short thousands of workers before the first Covid case showed up, and now the health care workers are exhausted. They are retiring. They are resigning, they are going to other industries. That is limiting our care capacity, and so we're telling our community that at this point if you had a motor vehicle accident or had a heart attack our care capacity is limited. It's really a crisis.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for capacity

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"capacity." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 23 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/capacity>.

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    (of especially persons) lacking sense or understanding or judgment
    A handsome
    B alternate
    C nasty
    D witless

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