• (America) IPA: /əˈbɪl.ə.ti/, /əˈ.bɪl.ɪ.ti/


  1. (obsolete) Suitableness. [Attested from around (1350 to 1470) until the late 17th century.]
  2. (uncountable) The quality or state of being able; capacity to do or of doing something; having the necessary power. [First attested from around (1350 to 1470).]
    This phone has the ability to have its software upgraded wirelessly.
    This wood has the ability to fight off insects, fungus, and mold for a considerable time.
  3. The legal wherewithal to act. [First attested in the mid 17th century.]
  4. (now, limited to Scottish dialects) Physical power. [First attested from around (1350 to 1470).]
  5. (archaic) Financial ability. [First attested in the early 16th century.]
  6. (uncountable) A unique power of the mind; a faculty. [First attested in the late 16 th century.]
  7. (countable) A skill or competence in doing; mental power; talent; aptitude. [First attested in the early 17 th century.]
    They are persons of ability, who will go far in life.
    She has an uncanny ability to defuse conflict.
    • 1769, King James Bible, Acts of the Apostles 11:29
      Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren.
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