ability */*/*/


ability */*/*/
UK [əˈbɪlətɪ] / US noun
Word forms "ability":
singular ability plural abilities
Get it right: ability:
When ability means "the fact of being able to do something", it is followed by an infinitive. It is never used in the pattern "the ability of doing something":
Wrong: Imagination is the ability of making up pictures in your mind.
Right: Imagination is the ability to make up pictures in your mind.
Wrong: The ability of speaking English has become extremely important.
Right: The ability to speak English has become extremely important.   In this meaning, ability is not used in the plural:
Wrong: It is good that we have abilities to dream and imagine.
Right: It is good that we have the ability to dream and imagine.   The plural form abilities, which is much less frequent, is used to refer to someone's "skills" or "talents", and is never followed by an infinitive: Men and women have different needs, interests and abilities.
1) [uncountable] the fact of being able to do something
ability to do something:

Tiredness can seriously impair your ability to drive.

2) [countable/uncountable] the level of skill that someone has in a particular job or activity

Our courses cater for different levels of ability.

The work will vary according to your abilities.

See:
3) [uncountable] the quality of being skilful or naturally good at something

Gladstone was a politician of great ability.


English dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ability — may be: * aptitude * ability to pay * Intelligence * physical ability * skill * expertiseAbility: The way to do something.Ability may also refer to: * Ability score, in role playing games * Ability Plus Software, makers of the office suite… …   Wikipedia

  • ability — I noun ableness, adaptability, adeptness, adequacy, aptitude, aptness, capability, capacity, competence, competency, enablement, facultas, faculty, fitness, fittedness, ingenium, mastership, mastery, potentiality, potestas, proficiency, prowess,… …   Law dictionary

  • ability — ability, capacity, capability are often confused in use. Ability primarily denotes the quality or character of being able (as to do or perform) and is applied chiefly to human beings. Capacity in its corresponding sense means the power or more… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • Ability — A*bil i*ty ([.a]*b[i^]l [i^]*t[y^]), n.; pl. {Abilities} ([.a]*b[i^]l [i^]*t[i^]z). [F. habilet[ e], earlier spelling habilit[ e] (with silent h), L. habilitas aptitude, ability, fr. habilis apt. See {Able}.] The quality or state of being able;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ability — UK US /əˈbɪləti/ noun [C or U] ► the power or skill needed to do something, or the fact that someone is able to do something: »There s no doubting her ability. the ability to do sth »A good leader has the ability to motivate people. »We like our… …   Financial and business terms

  • -ability — suffix expressing ability, fitness, or capacity, from L. abilitas, forming nouns from adjectives ending in abilis (see ABLE (Cf. able)). Not etymologically related to ABILITY (Cf. ability), though popularly connected with it …   Etymology dictionary

  • ability — [n1] power to act, perform aptitude, capability, capacity, competence, competency, comprehension, dexterity, endowment, facility, faculty, intelligence, might, potentiality, qualification, resourcefulness, skill, strength, talent, understanding;… …   New thesaurus

  • -ability — [ə bil′ə tē] [L abilitas: see ABLE & ITY] suffix forming nouns a (specified) ability, capacity, or tendency …   English World dictionary

  • -ability — [əbılıti] suffix also ibility [: Old French; Origin: abilité, from Latin abilitas, from abilis; ABLE] makes nouns from adjectives ending in ↑ able and ↑ ible ▪ manageability ▪ suitability …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • -ability — [ ə bıləti ] suffix used with adjectives ending in able to make nouns meaning a particular quality: suitability dependability …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • ability — (n.) late 14c., from O.Fr. ableté expert at handling (something), from L. habilitatem (nom. habilitas) aptitude, noun of quality from habilis easy to manage, handy (see ABLE (Cf. able)). One case where a Latin silent h failed to make a return in… …   Etymology dictionary