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ability

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ability


  3  definitions  found 
 
  From  Webster's  Revised  Unabridged  Dictionary  (1913)  [web1913]: 
 
  Ability  \A*bil"i*ty\,  n.;  pl  {Abilities}.  [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;  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. 
 
  Then  the  disciples,  every  man  according  to  his  ability, 
  determined  to  send  relief  unto  the  brethren.  --Acts  xi 
  29. 
 
  Natural  abilities  are  like  natural  plants,  that  need 
  pruning  by  study.  --Bacon. 
 
  The  public  men  of  England,  with  much  of  a  peculiar  kind 
  of  ability.  --Macaulay. 
 
  Syn:  Capacity;  talent;  cleverness;  faculty;  capability; 
  efficiency;  aptitude;  aptness;  address;  dexterity; 
  skill. 
 
  Usage:  {Ability},  {Capacity}.  These  words  come  into 
  comparison  when  applied  to  the  higher  intellectual 
  powers.  Ability  has  reference  to  the  active  exercise 
  of  our  faculties.  It  implies  not  only  native  vigor  of 
  mind,  but  that  ease  and  promptitude  of  execution  which 
  arise  from  mental  training.  Thus  we  speak  of  the 
  ability  with  which  a  book  is  written,  an  argument 
  maintained,  a  negotiation  carried  on  etc  It  always 
  something  to  be  done  and  the  power  of  doing  it 
  Capacity  has  reference  to  the  receptive  powers.  In  its 
  higher  exercises  it  supposes  great  quickness  of 
  apprehension  and  breadth  of  intellect,  with  an 
  uncommon  aptitude  for  acquiring  and  retaining 
  knowledge.  Hence  it  carries  with  it  the  idea  of 
  resources  and  undeveloped  power.  Thus  we  speak  of  the 
  extraordinary  capacity  of  such  men  as  Lord  Bacon, 
  Blaise  Pascal,  and  Edmund  Burke.  ``Capacity,''  says  H. 
  Taylor,  ``is  requisite  to  devise,  and  ability  to 
  execute,  a  great  enterprise.''  The  word  abilities,  in 
  the  plural,  embraces  both  these  qualities,  and  denotes 
  high  mental  endowments. 
 
  From  WordNet  r  1.6  [wn]: 
 
  ability 
  n  1:  the  quality  of  being  able  to  perform;  a  quality  that  permits 
  or  facilitates  achievement  or  accomplishment  [ant:  {inability}] 
  2:  possession  of  the  qualities  (especially  mental  qualities) 
  required  to  do  something  or  get  something  done  "danger 
  heightened  his  powers  of  discrimination"  [syn:  {power}] 
  [ant:  {inability}] 
 
  From  THE  DEVIL'S  DICTIONARY  ((C)1911  Released  April  15  1993)  [devils]: 
 
  ABILITY,  n.  The  natural  equipment  to  accomplish  some  small  part  of 
  the  meaner  ambitions  distinguishing  able  men  from  dead  ones.  In  the 
  last  analysis  ability  is  commonly  found  to  consist  mainly  in  a  high 
  degree  of  solemnity.  Perhaps,  however,  this  impressive  quality  is 
  rightly  appraised;  it  is  no  easy  task  to  be  solemn. 
 
 




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