Monday, 28 June 2010



Mental or intellectual receiving power; ability to grasp or take in impressions, ideas, knowledge.

In industry: the ability to produce; equivalent to ‘full capacity’.

Active power or force of mind; mental ability, talent.

The quality or condition of admitting or being open to action or treatment; capability, possibility.

1659 Whole Duty Man X. ii. 79 Several branches [of Justice] answerable to those capacities of injury.

Hence to be in, put into or out of a capacity: i.e. a position which enables, or renders capable. Obs.

1649 JER. TAYLOR Gt. Exemp. II. vi. 17 He instantly, if he be in capacity, leaves the wife of his bosom.

Law. Legal competency or qualification. to be in capacity: to be legally qualified.

1480 Bury Wills (1850) 66 Capacite in the lawe to purchase, take, and resceyue..possessiouns. a1626 BACON Use Com. Law (1636) 42 Persons attainted of felony or treason, have no capacity in them to take, obtaine, or purchase. 1641 Terms de la Ley 44 Capacitie is when a man, or bodie politicke or corporate is able to give or take lands or other things, or to sue actions. 1768 BLACKSTONE Comm. II. 497 The ecclesiastical court is the judge of every testator's capacity. 1845 STEPHEN Laws Eng. II. 406 The capacity of an alien may be enlarged by his becoming a denizen.

passing into adj. That reaches or fills the utmost capacity. 1965 Listener 16 Sept. 416/3 A Hard Day's Night is running in six cinemas... The Beatles do capacity business.

OED Extracts

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