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4 definitions found
 for ability
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  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; 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.
     [1913 Webster]
  
           Then the disciples, every man according to his ability,
           determined to send relief unto the brethren. --Acts xi.
                                                    29.
     [1913 Webster]
  
           Natural abilities are like natural plants, that need
           pruning by study.                        --Bacon.
     [1913 Webster]
  
           The public men of England, with much of a peculiar kind
           of ability.                              --Macaulay.
     [1913 Webster]
  
     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.
            [1913 Webster] Abime

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

  ability
      n 1: the quality of being able to perform; a quality that
           permits or facilitates achievement or accomplishment [ant:
           inability, unfitness]
      2: possession of the qualities (especially mental qualities)
         required to do something or get something done; "danger
         heightened his powers of discrimination" [syn: ability,
         power] [ant: inability]

From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0 :

  132 Moby Thesaurus words for "ability":
     ableness, address, adeptness, adequacy, adroitness, airmanship,
     aptitude, aptness, artfulness, artisanship, artistry, bravura,
     brilliance, bump, caliber, capability, capableness, capacity,
     capital, cleverness, command, competence, competency, condition,
     control, coordination, craft, craftsmanship, cunning, deftness,
     devices, dexterity, dexterousness, dextrousness, diplomacy,
     disposable resources, dower, dowry, efficacy, efficiency,
     endowment, equipment, expertise, expertism, expertness, facility,
     faculty, finesse, fitness, fittedness, flair, forte, funds, genius,
     gift, grace, grip, handiness, horsemanship, ingeniousness,
     ingenuity, instinct, knack, know-how, long suit, makings,
     marksmanship, mastership, mastery, maturity, means, method, metier,
     might, natural endowment, natural gift, parts, potential, power,
     powers, practical ability, preparedness, proficiency, prowess,
     qualification, quickness, readiness, recourses, resorts, resource,
     resourcefulness, resources, ripeness, savoir-faire, savvy,
     seamanship, seasoning, skill, skillfulness, speciality, stock,
     strong flair, strong point, style, sufficiency, suitability,
     suitableness, suitedness, supply, susceptibility, tact,
     tactfulness, talent, talents, technical brilliance,
     technical mastery, technical skill, technique, tempering,
     the goods, the stuff, timing, trim, virtuosity, ways,
     ways and means, what it takes, wherewith, wherewithal, wit,
     wizardry, workmanship
  
  

From The Devil's Dictionary (1881-1906) :

  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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