capacity meaning

[ kə'pæsiti ] Pronunciation:   "capacity" in a sentence
Noun: capacity  ku'pasitee
  1. Capability to perform or produce
    "among his gifts is his capacity for true altruism"; "limited runway capacity"; "a great capacity for growth" 
  2. The susceptibility of something to a particular treatment
    - capability 
  3. The amount that can be contained
    "the gas tank has a capacity of 12 gallons"
    - content 
  4. The maximum production possible
    "the plant is working at 80 per cent capacity" 
  5. A specified function
    "he was employed in the capacity of director"; "he should be retained in his present capacity at a higher salary" 
  6. (computer science) the amount of information (in bytes) that can be stored on a disk drive
    "the capacity of a hard disk drive is usually expressed in megabytes" 
  7. An electrical phenomenon whereby an electric charge is stored
    - capacitance, electrical capacity 
  8. The power to learn or retain knowledge; in law, the ability to understand the facts and significance of your behaviour
    - mental ability 
  9. Tolerance for alcohol
    "he had drunk beyond his capacity"

Derived forms: capacities

See also: capacious, capacitate

Type of: ability, capability, capableness, electrical phenomenon, function, indefinite quantity, office, part, power, production, role, susceptibility, susceptibleness, tolerance, volume

Antonym: incapacity

Encyclopedia: Capacity


See carrying capacity.


The volume contained in a vessel.


The maximum or minimum water flow obtainable under given conditions (e.g., specified conditions of pressure, temperature, and velocity).

noun (plural capacities)


1 [U; C, usually sing.]

the number of things or people or the amount of sth that a container or space can hold:

a fuel tank with a capacity of 50 litres

large-capacity disk drives

2 (Manufacturing ) [U; sing.]

the quantity of goods that a factory, machine, etc. can produce; the number of people that a company can provide a service to:

The factory is working at full capacity.

The Renault plant near Paris had lots of spare capacity (= it had the equipment, etc. to produce more vehicles).

The new car factory will open in 2006, with a capacity of 300 000 units a year

The airline has cut capacity on Asian routes by 20%.

full/spare/total capacity

manufacturing/production capacity

◆ to cut/expand/increase/reduce capacity

3 [C, usually sing., U]

the ability to understand or to do sth:

She has an enormous capacity for hard work.

Limited resources are restricting our capacity to develop new products.

The greater the RAM, the greater the computer's capacity for switching between applications.

4 [C, usually sing.]

the official position or function that sb has:

acting in her capacity as manager

He works for several banks in an advisory capacity.

The maximum output an industrial plant is considered capable of producing. This assumes normal working: if single-shift working is normal, output can sometimes be further increased by shift work, using two or even three shifts. The capacity of a firm, an industry, or the economy as a whole can only be estimated subject to considerable problems of aggregation. Firms or industries have equipment of varying types: some of this can only produce goods for which there is no demand; other equipment can produce goods that are wanted, but only at such high operating costs that its use is normally uneconomic. Because of the need for flexibility in both the timing and the composition of output, firms normally aim on average to operate at well under 100 per cent of capacity. In emergencies, however, the use of overtime, extra shifts, and deferring maintenance work can allow output to exceed capacity for limited periods.

See also:

excess capacity, and spare capacity

See capacitance


More:   Next
  1. the enemy had a surplus of refining capacity.
  2. i am very proud of lily's capacity.
  3. i really admire his capacity for work.
  4. our immediate capacity for an offensive was nil.
  5. in my capacity as an officer of the law, i must do my duty.

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