power or capacity to do or act physically, mentally, legally, morally, financially, etc.
competence in an activity or occupation because of one’s skill, training, or other qualification:
the ability to sing well.
abilities, talents; special skills or aptitudes:
Composing music is beyond his abilities.
a combination of and , found on nouns corresponding to adjectives in -able:
Contemporary Examples

You know, you set out to do something, and I have achieved what I set out to do to the best of my ability.
‘No Regrets’: Peter Jackson Says Goodbye to Middle-Earth Alex Suskind December 3, 2014

Hunter S. Thompson had this ability; his words cut the most powerful men in America to the bone.
The Daily Beast Recommends The Daily Beast June 22, 2009

His goal of coming across as humble subtracts from his ability to share just exactly how he became so great at such a young age.
The Story of the World’s Greatest Cricket Player William O’Connor December 23, 2014

But only Congress has the ability to completely lift the trade embargo, which has been in place since 1962.
Cuba Is A Kleptocracy, Not Communist Romina Ruiz-Goiriena December 18, 2014

[E]ven a slight edge in ability can translate into enormous payoffs.
Some CEOs Are More Valuable Than Others David Frum January 13, 2013

Historical Examples

All her ability as a driver was needed to meet the situation.
The Automobile Girls at Palm Beach Laura Dent Crane

We are fortunate in the ability and integrity of our Federal judges and attorneys.
United States Presidents’ Inaugural Speeches Various

“Maude does,” answered Edith, proud of her sister’s ability.
The Empire Annual for Girls, 1911 Various

Instead, she was inclined to boast over her ability to bamboozle men at her will.
Within the Law Marvin Dana

In the east, again, there was no impulse to succour the falling west; and indeed there was not the ability.
The Evolution of States J. M. Robertson

noun (pl) -ties
possession of the qualities required to do something; necessary skill, competence, or power: the ability to cope with a problem
considerable proficiency; natural capability: a man of ability
(pl) special talents

late 14c., from Old French ableté “expert at handling (something),” from Latin habilitatem (nominative habilitas) “aptitude,” noun of quality from habilis “easy to manage, handy” (see able). One case where a Latin silent -h- failed to make a return in English (despite efforts of 16c.-17c. scholars); see H.

word-forming element expressing ability, fitness, or capacity, from Latin -abilitas, forming nouns from adjectives ending in -abilis (see -able). Not etymologically related to ability, though popularly connected with it.


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