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The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English.

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the noun capacity:


Comparison of usage frequency between the noun capacity and its most common antonym:


The word capacity and its family (capacities, incapacitate, incapacitated) are included in the Academic Word List by Dr. Averil Coxhead, which contains the 570 most frequent word families used in academic texts from a variety of subject areas, of interest for students that learn the words most needed to study at tertiary institutions.

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Definition of the noun capacity

What does capacity mean as a name of something?

Capacity is one of the top 1000 most common nouns in the English language.

noun - plural: capacities

  1. capability to perform or produce
    • examples: among his gifts is his capacity for true altruism | limited runway capacity | a great capacity for growth
    • lexical domain: Attributes - nouns denoting attributes of people and objects
    • antonym: incapacity
    • more generic words: capability / capableness = the quality of being capable -- physically or intellectually or legally
  2. the susceptibility of something to a particular treatment
    • lexical domain: States - nouns denoting stable states of affairs
    • synonym of capacity: capability
    • more generic words: susceptibility / susceptibleness = the state of being susceptible
    • more specific words:
      • resistance = the capacity of an organism to defend itself against harmful environmental agents
      • activity = the capacity of a substance to take part in a chemical reaction
  3. the amount that can be contained
    • example: the gas tank has a capacity of 12 gallons
    • lexical domain: Quantities - nouns denoting quantities and units of measure
    • synonym of capacity: content
    • more generic word: volume = the amount of 3-dimensional space occupied by an object
    • more specific term: vital capacity = the maximum amount of air that can be exhaled after a maximum inhalation
  4. the maximum production possible
    • example: the plant is working at 80 per cent capacity
    • lexical domain: Acts - nouns denoting acts or actions
    • more generic word: production = manufacturing or mining or growing something (usually in large quantities) for sale
  5. a specified function
    • examples: he was employed in the capacity of director | he should be retained in his present capacity at a higher salary
    • lexical domain: Acts - nouns denoting acts or actions
    • more generic words: function / office / part / role = the actions and activities assigned to or required or expected of a person or group
  6. (computer science) the amount of information (in bytes) that can be stored on a disk drive
  7. an electrical phenomenon whereby an electric charge is stored
  8. the power to learn or retain knowledge; in law, the ability to understand the facts and significance of your behavior
    • lexical domain: Cognitive Processes - nouns denoting cognitive processes and contents
    • synonym of capacity: mental ability
    • antonym of capacity: incapacity
    • more generic words: ability / power = possession of the qualities (especially mental qualities) required to do something or get something done
    • more specific words: prescience / prevision = the power to foresee the future
  9. tolerance for alcohol
    • example: he had drunk beyond his capacity
    • lexical domain: Attributes - nouns denoting attributes of people and objects
    • more generic word: tolerance = the power or capacity of an organism to tolerate unfavorable environmental conditions

Alternative definition of the noun capacity


  1. the ability to hold, receive or absorb
  2. a measure of such ability; volume
  3. the maximum amount that can be held
  4. capability; the ability to perform some task
  5. the maximum that can be produced
  6. mental ability; the power to learn
  7. faculty; the potential for growth and development
  8. rôle; the position in which one functions
  9. legal authority (to make an arrest for example)
  10. electrical capacitance
  11. [context: operations] The maximum that can be produced on a machine or in a facility or group.

Specialised definition of the noun capacity

Glossary of sports

the ability to do something easily (2006. Dictionary of Sport and Exercise Science. A&C Black Publishers Ltd)

the amount of something that a container or organ can hold (2006. Dictionary of Sport and Exercise Science. A&C Black Publishers Ltd)

the amount of something that can be produced or the amount of work that can be done (2006. Dictionary of Sport and Exercise Science. A&C Black Publishers Ltd)

Definition of the adjective capacity

What does capacity mean as an attribute of a noun?

adjective - degrees: more capacity / most capacity

  1. filling the allotted space


"Capacity" is a musical EP of She was only 17.


  1. "Capacity" is a written work, book.
    • author: Tony Ballantyne
    • genres: Fiction, Science Fiction, Speculative fiction
    • copyright: 2005-11
  2. "Capacity" is the book written by James L. McMichael.
    • language: English Language
    • released in (9 years ago)
    • award: - National Book Award for Poetry nomination for James L. McMichael


  1. 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.
    • also known as 行為能力
  2. Capacity, was an American schooner that arrived in San Francisco on January 9, 1852. The Capacity under Captain Driscoll, subsequently was hired by Captain James Turnbull to carry a cargo of U. S. Army supplies for Fort Yuma. It would also carry the engine, boiler and wood to assemble the side-wheel paddle steamer tug, Uncle Sam to the Colorado River Delta. The Uncle Sam would be the first of many steamboats on the Colorado River.
  3. Capacity: The lift's capacity during this period.
  4. Capacity: The maximum charge of this battery.
  5. Capacity of this battery.
  6. Capacity: The number of prisoners this prison can accomodate.

Phrases with Capacity

Phrases starting with the word Capacity:

  1. capacity unit
  2. capacity measure
  3. Capacity utilization
  4. Capacity Utilization Rate

Phrases ending with the word Capacity:

  1. Heat capacity
  2. Cubic Capacity
  3. field capacity
  4. vital capacity
  5. mental capacity
  6. channel capacity
  7. seating capacity
  8. Carrying capacity
  9. formatted capacity
  10. electrical capacity
  11. unformatted capacity
  12. Specific heat capacity

Other phrases containing the word Capacity:

  1. metric capacity unit
  2. british capacity unit
  3. imperial capacity unit
  4. Finite Capacity Planning

View more phrases with the word Capacity in thesaurus!

Printed books with definitions for Capacity

Click on a title to look inside that book (if available):

Google previewWorldwide Destinations (2012)

The Geography of Travel and Tourism by Brian G. Boniface, Chris Cooper, Robyn Cooper

Carrying capacity is a key concept of sustainable tourism; in other words, planners determine the levels of use that can be...

Google previewDr Podcast Scripts for the Primary FRCA (2011)

by Rebecca A. Leslie, Emily K. Johnson, Alexander P. L. Goodwin

Inspiratory capacity is the total volume that can be inspired above FRC and equals around 3000 ml. Vital capacity is the maximal volume that can be expired after a maximal inspiration and is around 4500 ml. Expiratory reserve volume is the ...

Google previewJoint Structure and Function (2011)

A Comprehensive Analysis by Pamela K Levangie, Cynthia C Norkin

For example, vital capacity is a combination ofinspiratory reserve volume, tidal volume, and expiratory reserve volume. Vital capacity is the volume of air that can be blown out of the lungs from a full inspiration to a full exhalation. Inspiratory ...

Google previewUrogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery (2006)

by Mark D. Walters, Mickey M. Karram

Bladder capacity: during filing cystometry ○ Cystometric capacity is the bladder volume at the end of the filling cystometrogram, when “permission to void” is usually given.

Google previewModern Nature (2012)

Essays in Environmental Communication by Luke Strongman

Mental capacity is a concept which describes the ability of a person to make rational autonomous decisions. Capacity refers to an ability or power to do something specific – to perform a task or to make a decision. In many Western cultures, ...

Google previewThe Care Home Handbook (2014)

by Graham Mulley, Clive Bowman, Michal Boyd, Sarah Stowe

Mental capacity is a term used to describe a person's ability to make a decision or perform an action that might have legal...

Capacity is an important principle in English and Welsh law in maintaining an individual's right to independence.

Google previewIn the matter of certain limited-charge cell culture microcarriers (1984)

investigation no. 337-TA-129 by United States International Trade Commission

The total capacity is the amount of charged and potentially charged groups per gram of dry ion exchanger; it is essentially a measure of the number of charged groups dispersed...

Google previewApplied Studies in Climate Adaptation (2014)

by Jean P. Palutikof, Sarah L. Boulter, Jon Barnett, David Rissik

Adaptive capacity Adaptive capacity is a component of economic capital. Economic capital is the...

Whether adaptive capacity is an asset such as a seawall or levee, or a process such as changed irrigation practices and water rights ...

Google previewManaging the Global Supply Chain (Collection) (2013)

by Chad W. Autry, Thomas J. Goldsby, John E. Bell, Arthur V. Hill

Rated capacity is the product of three variables, hours available, efficiency, and utilization. Demonstrated capacity, also known as proven capacity, is the output rate that the process has actually been able to sustain over a period of time.

Google previewCertain Limited Charge Cell Culture Microcarriers, Inv. 337-TA-129

The total capacity is the amount of charged and potentially charged groups per gram of dry ion exchanger; it is essentially a measure of the number of charged...

Google previewEconomics for Fisheries Management (2017)

by R. Quentin Grafton, James Kirkley, Dale Squires

Excess capacity is a common phenomenon in many industries at different points in time.

Google previewA Handbook of Medical Diagnosis (1909)

For the Use of Practitioners and Students by James Cornelius Wilson

Vital capacity is the volume of air that can be expired after the fullest inspiration. The average is about 3400 cubic centimetres for men and 2500 cubic centimetres for women. Lung capacity is the total quantity of air in the lungs after full ...

Google previewPhysics, Principles with Applications (2016)

by CTI Reviews

Heat capacity is an extensive property of matter, meaning it is proportional to the size of the system.

Google previewCollege Physics (2016)

by CTI Reviews

Heat capacity is an extensive property of matter, meaning it is proportional to the size of the system.

Google previewAircraft Noise (2011)

Assessment, Prediction and Control by Oleksandr Zaporozhets, Vadim Tokarev, Keith Attenborough

Environmental capacity is the extent to which the environment is able to receive, tolerate, assimilate or process the outputs of aviation activity. Local environmental airport capacity can be expressed in terms of the maximum numbers of aircraft, ...

Google previewAesthetics and Film (2008)

by Katherine Thomson-Jones

Your horse-recognitional capacity is a different kind of mental operation than rational judgment – Currie describes the...

Google previewTotal Materials Management (2013)

The Frontier for Maximizing Profit in the 1990s by Eugene L. Magad

Capacity is a measure of the productive capability of materials management facilities, and may be expressed as design...

Google previewDeploying and Managing a Cloud Infrastructure (2015)

Real-World Skills for the CompTIA Cloud+ Certification and Beyond: Exam CV0-001 by Abdul Salam, Zafar Gilani, Salman Ul Haq

For example, dynamic capacity is a great feature that optimizes the virtual disk capacity by keeping it to its actual size requirement rather than...

Google previewMassage Therapy (2016)

by CTI Reviews

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 ...

Google previewComputational Subsurface Hydrology (2000)

Reactions, Transport, and Fate by George Yeh

For example, if the state variable is chemical concentration, then the storage capacity is the amount of chemical mass (chemical mass is the attribute to the concentration) added to a unit volume of the medium to raise the concentration by one.

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Capacity

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Photos about Capacity

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View more pictures about Capacity building.

If you need related images for an article or a report, you can download stock photos:
Small photo of Medicine glass jar, capacity for liquid medicines closed by a rubber stopper, isolated subject on a white background.Small photo of TOKYO, Japan-MAY 31, 2017, The garbage waste from Sensoji temple festival over the capacity of bin.Small photo of aluminum canister in the tractor trailer. large capacity for liquid transportSmall photo of A large red big bag with a capacity of 100 kgSmall photo of Manufacturing capacity for raw materials for synthetic foam and plastics.Small photo of Modern powder fire extinguisher high capacity for the elimination of fires of different classes on a white backgroundSmall photo of a huge capacity for water More...

Video language resources about Capacity

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View more videos about Heat capacity, Cubic Capacity, Field capacity, Channel capacity, Capacity planning, Carrying capacity, and Capacity utilization.

See also the pronunciation examples of Capacity!

Quotes about Capacity

Today the real test of power is not capacity to make war but the capacity to prevent it. (Anne Elizabeth O'Hare McCormick)
more quotes about capacity...

Scrabble value of C3A1P3A1C3I1T1Y4

The value of this 8-letter word is 17 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

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