Definition of capacity in English:


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nounplural noun capacities

  • 1in singular The maximum amount that something can contain.

    ‘the capacity of the freezer is 1.1 cubic feet’
    • ‘the stadium's seating capacity’
    • ‘the room was filled to capacity’
    • ‘One of 10 World Cup stadiums in South Korea, the Pusan World Cup Stadium has a seating capacity of 55,982.’
    • ‘They faced last-place Recreativo Huelva - not much of a draw - yet the enormous stadium was filled to capacity.’
    • ‘Built in 1960, the room has a maximum capacity of more than 250 people.’
    • ‘There was standing room only as the Anglican church was filled to capacity as 340 adults and five children of all faiths came to mark their respects for the dead and pray for the survivors.’
    • ‘What a delightful Polynesian experience we had - on a luxury ship with a maximum capacity of only 320 passengers.’
    • ‘In my opinion, a buffet restaurant is the place where you can challenge the maximum capacity of your stomach and try to fill it to the fullest with as much food as you can.’
    • ‘At 11 songs and just over 37 minutes, the album is almost exactly half the maximum capacity of a CD.’
    • ‘Camp Bucca, which has a maximum capacity of 6,000 detainees, is up to about 5,150.’
    • ‘Siu said the maximum actual use instead of the maximum capacity of swimming pools was used to decide the number of lifeguards deployed.’
    • ‘Only two hands went up in a room filled to capacity.’
    • ‘Meetings to explain them have been filled to capacity, with standing room only.’
    • ‘However, in the past 12 months, the Midland Health Board extended the car parking facilities, which are rarely filled to capacity.’
    • ‘St Lucia's small Passport Office located at the Police Headquarters is most times filled to capacity with lines stretching out the door’
    • ‘These buses have a capacity of 115 passengers each, 65 seated and 50 standing, and all were filled to capacity.’
    • ‘The new stadium in Amaravati township would have a seating capacity of 30,000 and was likely to cost over Rs 20 crore, Mr Rao said.’
    • ‘The grandstand was not filled to capacity, so though we were ushered to seats according to the number on our tickets, we could move around if we wanted to.’
    • ‘Each scheme was filled to capacity with kids aged 4 to 12 years who took part in a wide range of games, activities and trips.’
    • ‘The lecture hall where Layton delivered his speech was filled to capacity and many students who showed up late had to be turned away at the door.’
    • ‘When filled to capacity, it accommodated up to 400 cubic metres of ice.’
    • ‘Pam waited patiently with Dennis Rodman and Stephen Dorff as elevator after elevator went by, filled to capacity.’
    • ‘For his Sharks teammate Robinson, tomorrow's game at a capacity Twickenham completes his international collection.’
    volume, cubic measure
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    1. 1.1as modifier Fully occupying the available area or space.
      ‘they played to a capacity crowd’
      • ‘Billy Graham was drawing capacity crowds around the world when John Paul II was still a junior professor in Poland.’
      • ‘Johnny was a great favourite in Bourke's Lounge in the village where he played to capacity crowds on several occasions over the past decade.’
      • ‘Kieran is one of the biggest attractions on the scene all over the Ulster region and is drawing capacity crowds to many venues.’
      • ‘The emotion of the tour was palpable and everywhere they played, capacity crowds were there to welcome them.’
      • ‘After a brief wait at the end of their set, the 500 - capacity crowd at Victoria Hall got to see the man they had waited for.’
      • ‘Tickets for both nights sold out within days of going on sale, bringing 30,000 capacity crowds to the venue.’
      • ‘This show has drawn capacity crowds over the previous two years and is likely to do so again.’
      • ‘The match had all the essential ingredients of a footballing banquet, quality players with an abundance of skill and a near - capacity crowd.’
      • ‘That's not to say today's decent, one-third capacity crowd would mind some big-hitting entertainment.’
      • ‘The other comedians, Russell Howard, Nick Page, James Dowdeswell, Sarah Benetto and Milton Jones were all well received by the capacity crowd.’
    2. 1.2The total cylinder volume that is swept by the pistons in an internal combustion engine.
      ‘the cubic capacity is 1171 cc’
      • ‘These include a raised capacity, new cylinder block, pistons and crankshaft.’
      • ‘However, it differs in revised crankshaft and pistons, an increased cylinder capacity and larger intake and exhaust ports.’
      • ‘The ECJ was once again faced with a national fiscal measure that imposed a progressively higher tax based on the cylinder capacity of the car.’
      • ‘The engines were just over 5.6 litres in capacity and were 8 cylinders in line.’
    3. 1.3
      former term for capacitance
      ‘When this happens, it becomes difficult to maintain the capacity of the unused battery.’
      • ‘The bulb would get progressively dimmer and finally go out once the capacitor reached its capacity.’
      • ‘Nickel Cadmium cells are better, but still lack capacity and pollute unless disposed of properly.’
  • 2The amount that something can produce.

    ‘the company aimed to double its electricity-generating capacity’
    • ‘when running at full capacity, the factory will employ 450 people’
    • ‘The sales mean Boeing will be at full capacity through the end of this year, Commercial Airplanes Group Chief Executive Alan Mulally said last week.’
    • ‘The plant generally runs at full capacity from December through May and then undergoes two weeks of maintenance.’
    • ‘The project at full capacity is designed to produce 12500 tons of zinc per month.’
    • ‘Once the mill is running at full capacity, Bell expects over 200 truck loads per day will cross the scales with an average load of 38 cubic metres.’
    • ‘The port's deep-water dry bulk terminal currently handling Russian fertiliser exports has just doubled its throughput capacity.’
    • ‘Volkswagen and General Motors plan to double their mainland production capacities in the next four years.’
    • ‘The extra unit will also free up more space and enable the firm to double its production capacity.’
    • ‘And businesses with plants not working at full capacity because of reduced demand are not likely to rush into a lot of new investments.’
    • ‘At full capacity the pipeline will provide 1% of the world's oil needs.’
    • ‘The plant was operating at full capacity before the war, pulling millions of liters of water from the nearby river.’
    • ‘More of them may be operating at full capacity but they remain concerned about the cost of raw materials and the affect on them of interest and exchange rates.’
    • ‘Even when the plant is operating at full capacity, it will only be able to treat 60,000 tons annually.’
    • ‘At full capacity, the Polana factory is capable of producing 5500 tons in a year.’
    • ‘Especially that the good copper prices have indisputably encouraged mining companies to double their production capacity this year.’
    • ‘It plans to outsource the remaining 25% of its production capacity and expects to conclude this by August.’
    • ‘Total capacity at the plant stands at 430,000 units, 80 percent of which are exported to various regions of the world.’
    • ‘South Africa has the most important refineries in the region with a total capacity of 650 000 barrels per day.’
    • ‘Iran claims that over the next 20 years it intends to build several more reactors with a total capacity of 6,000 MW.’
    • ‘There are now 442 nuclear reactors operating worldwide with a total capacity of 300,000 megawatts.’
    • ‘A strike by French energy workers resulted in a cut of power production by 5,500 megawatts, or about five percent of total generation capacity.’
    efficiency, production, productiveness, work rate, output, yield, capacity, productive capacity
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    1. 2.1The ability or power to do, experience, or understand something.
      ‘I was impressed by her capacity for hard work’
      • ‘their intellectual capacities’
      • ‘his capacity to inspire trust in others’
      • ‘A historian's understanding of the past and of the motives of the people who make history is bound to be influenced by his own experience and by his capacity for understanding human beings.’
      • ‘The fact is that he had a huge capacity for understanding the minutiae of problems without effort so he did not need to strain himself.’
      • ‘You have an infinite capacity for understanding people's problems and you can sympathize with them.’
      • ‘Nearly every person who stepped up to back Kerry in Boston mentioned his courage and his capacity for strong leadership.’
      • ‘Intelligence is the capacity for learning and intuitive understanding.’
      • ‘The basic question posed by war is about the powers of endurance and capacity for sacrifice of the two sides.’
      • ‘Both kinds of experience can breed enduring insecurity in relationships and undermine the capacity for trust.’
      • ‘After all, many dogs seem to have some capacity for understanding language, and some dogs have quite a lot.’
      • ‘It will be soldiers who suffer the reactions and as usual the armchair hawks don't have the intellectual capacity to understand any of this.’
      • ‘Wilson recognizes the amazing capacity for the camp experience to change the lives of inner-city youth in powerful ways.’
      • ‘This system has the capacity to move a maximum of 2,000 people at any one time.’
      • ‘I mean, it's your dream to do a role to the fullest capacity.’
      • ‘I don't think Britain has the capacity to play a role independent from the US.’
      • ‘Its capacity to bind both positively and negatively charged ions is also a consequence of it polarity.’
      • ‘The mayor said artistes had the capacity to contribute positively to the growth of the Zambian economic dream as the country could no longer rely on the copper industry.’
      • ‘He explained that Ireland has the capacity to generate huge volumes of energy by harnessing off-shore wind.’
      • ‘She explained that Invesco which is a franchise holder of Coca Cola International, had the capacity to improve standards and quality of the range of products.’
      • ‘There is a real gap today between the scope of the problems and the capacity of existing international institutions to handle them.’
      • ‘The problem lies with the capacity of the international community to react, not with its analysis or information gathering.’
      • ‘However, currently it is doubtful whether a single international agency has the capacity or the moral authority to produce such a framework.’
      ability, power, potential, potentiality
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    2. 2.2in singular A person's legal competence.
      ‘cases where a patient's testamentary capacity is in doubt’
      • ‘The Applicant in that case questioned the testamentary capacity of the deceased person.’
      • ‘Mr. Pascu, the applicant, asserts that the testator had testamentary capacity at the time the will was drafted.’
      • ‘It was accepted that the second 1990 will had been duly executed, but the deceased's testamentary capacity was in issue.’
      • ‘But ULH is simply a statutory corporation with the ordinary attributes of legal personality and a capacity to enter into contracts within its powers.’
      • ‘Mr Parker claimed that due to his mother's illness, she lacked the testamentary capacity to make a valid will.’
      • ‘And in the situation postulated the patient no longer has the capacity to revoke his advance directive.’
      • ‘He suffers very serious physical disabilities but has retained his mental competence and capacity.’
      • ‘Both the majority and minority opinions concluded that the interpretation of the legal standard for capacity is a question of law.’
      • ‘Both Plaintiffs lacked any capacity to prosecute this Claim.’
      • ‘In that case, there was a finding at first instance, which was not challenged in the Court of Appeal that the claimant did not have capacity to give her consent.’
      • ‘Why is it necessary that the mentally incompetent should be given treatment to which they lack the capacity to consent?’
      capability, ability, competency, capacity, proficiency, accomplishment, adeptness, adroitness, knowledge, expertise, expertness, skill, skilfulness, prowess, mastery, resources, faculties, facilities, talent, bent, aptitude, artistry, virtuosity
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  • 3in singular A specified role or position.

    ‘I was engaged in a voluntary capacity’
    • ‘writing in his capacity as legal correspondent’
    • ‘His second role is in the capacity of Chief Executive Officer (chief minister) of Andhra Pradesh.’
    • ‘Lee viewed the president's custodial role as excluding the capacity to hobble the government.’
    • ‘Some of the participants have remained involved with the project to assist in a voluntary capacity.’
    • ‘He also totally failed to deliver the lectures which he was obliged to give in his capacity as Professor of Architecture at the Academy from 1798 to 1805.’
    • ‘The head of the Special Investigating Unit, on the other hand, was appointed by the President in his capacity as head of the government.’
    • ‘Elmasry was not speaking on behalf of UW - he appeared in his capacity as the national president of the Canadian Islamic Congress.’
    • ‘The backdrop to the visit, led by the prime minister in his capacity as EU president, is the relatively poor showing of British exporters.’
    • ‘Bibi Zainob Baksh attended in her capacity as president of the Ladies' Muslim Organization.’
    • ‘I have simply written about the question in my capacity as a priest at St Edmund's Church.’
    • ‘Previously, he held the position in an acting capacity.’
    • ‘Anne, who acts in a leadership capacity, describes her role in mentoring young women.’
    • ‘This raised the question in his mind about the evolutionary role of such a capacity.’
    • ‘Chang also said that if Lu made it to Budapest, she would be going there as a member of the DPP rather than in her capacity as the vice president of Taiwan.’
    • ‘In Rome, military law derived from the imperium of magistrates in their capacity as commanders of the Roman military forces.’
    • ‘It is an occasion in which society can acknowledge the generosity of so many people who give time to groups and organisations which work for the community in a voluntary capacity.’
    • ‘The consortium - which serves in a voluntary capacity - is chaired by John Foley, chief executive of Waterford Crystal.’
    • ‘Chereet has been involved with EF for fifteen years, working in a voluntary capacity since her retirement.’
    • ‘In their capacity as culture brokers boatmen also assume a position of authority when guiding pilgrims, selectively informing them about the city.’
    • ‘In April, I attended the meeting of the primates of the Anglican Communion in my capacity as staff to the Presiding Bishop.’
    • ‘I'm doing this in my capacity as a private citizen and as an officer of the court.’
    position, post, job, office, appointment
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/kəˈpasədē/ /kəˈpæsədi/


Late Middle English from French capacité, from Latin capacitas, from capax, capac- ‘that can contain’, from capere ‘take or hold’.