Meaning of “capacity” in the English Dictionary

"capacity" in English

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uk /kəˈpæs.ə.ti/ us /kəˈpæs.ə.t̬i/

capacity noun (AMOUNT)

B2 [ C or S or U ] the total amount that can be contained or produced, or (especially of a person or organization) the ability to do a particular thing:

The stadium has a seating capacity of 50,000.
The game was watched by a capacity crowd/audience of 50,000 (= the place was completely full).
She has a great capacity for hard work.
The purchase of 500 tanks is part of a strategy to increase military capacity by 25 percent over the next five years.
[ + to infinitive ] It seems to be beyond his capacity to (= he seems to be unable to) follow simple instructions.
Do you think it's within his capacity to (= do you think he'll be able to) do the job without making a mess of it?
The generators each have a capacity of (= can produce) 1,000 kilowatts.
The larger cars have bigger capacity engines (= the engines are bigger and more powerful).
All our factories are working at (full) capacity (= are producing goods as fast as possible).
We are running below capacity (= not producing as many goods as we are able to) because of cancelled orders.
He suffered a stroke in 2008, which left him unable to speak, but his mental capacity (= his ability to think and remember) wasn't affected.

More examples

capacity noun (POSITION)

C1 [ S ] formal a particular position or job:

She guides tourists at the Martin Luther King Jr. Birth Home in her capacity as a National Park Service ranger.
She was speaking in her capacity as a novelist, rather than as a television presenter.

(Definition of “capacity” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"capacity" in American English

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capacitynoun [ C/U ]

us /kəˈpæs·ɪ·t̬i/

capacity noun [ C/U ] (AMOUNT)

the amount that can be held or produced by something:

[ C ] The stadium has a seating capacity of 50,000.
[ U ] The theater was full to capacity that night.

capacity noun [ C/U ] (ABILITY)

[ C ] the ability to do something in particular:

He has an enormous capacity for work.

capacity noun [ C/U ] (POSITION)

[ C ] a particular position or job; a role:

She was speaking in her capacity as a judge.

(Definition of “capacity” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"capacity" in Business English

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uk /kəˈpæsəti/ us

[ S or U ] the total amount or number of things or people that something can hold:

a capacity of sth The tanks have a capacity of 1000 litres.
capacity audience/crowd The rally drew a capacity crowd of 15,000 people (= the place, which held 15,000 people, was completely full).

[ S or U ] PRODUCTION the total amount of something that can be produced:

cut/expand/increase capacity They aim to expand capacity by 3 million barrels a day.
All our factories are now working at full capacity.

[ S or U ] the ability of a person or organization to do something:

capacity to do sth "Every industry has the capacity to go green," he says.
capacity for sth Most people have little capacity for creativity in solving problems at work.

[ S ] WORKPLACE a particular position or job:

sb's capacity as sth In her capacity as portfolio manager, she has primary responsibility for making day-to-day investment decisions.
He attends Board meetings in an advisory capacity.

(Definition of “capacity” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)