Meaning of CAPACITY in English


ca ‧ pac ‧ i ‧ ty S3 W2 AC /kəˈpæsəti, kəˈpæsɪti/ BrE AmE noun ( plural capacities )

[ Date: 1400-1500 ; Language: French ; Origin: capacité , from Latin capacitas , from capax ; ⇨ ↑ capacious ]

1 . [singular] the amount of space a container, room etc has to hold things or people

capacity of

The fuel tank has a capacity of 40 litres.

The room had seating capacity for about 80.

The orchestra played to a capacity crowd (=the largest number of people who can fit into a hall, theatre etc) .

All the hotels were filled to capacity.

2 . [uncountable and countable] someone’s ability to do something OPP incapacity

capacity for

a child’s capacity for learning

an infinite capacity for love

capacity to do something

a capacity to think in an original way

3 . [singular] formal someone’s job, position, or duty SYN role

in a professional/official etc capacity

Rollins will be working in an advisory capacity on this project.

(do something) in your capacity as something

I attended the meeting in my capacity as chairman of the safety committee.

4 . [singular, uncountable] the amount of something that a factory, company, machine etc can produce or deal with:

The company has the capacity to build 1,500 trucks a year.

The factory has been working at full capacity (=making the most amount of things that it can) .

5 . [singular, uncountable] the size or power of something such as an engine:

The tax on cars is still based on engine capacity.

• • •


■ phrases

▪ have a capacity of 5/10 etc litres

It’s a small microwave which has a capacity of 0.6 cubic feet.

▪ be filled to capacity (=be completely full)

The courtroom was filled to capacity.

■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + capacity

▪ limited capacity

The hospitals have a limited capacity.

▪ high capacity (=able to hold a lot of things or people)

There was demand for a high capacity public transport system.

▪ storage capacity (=how much information a computer disk, CD-Rom etc can hold)

The storage capacity is about 250 megabytes.

▪ seating capacity (=how many seats there are in a theatre, hall etc)

The largest hall in the university has a seating capacity of over 1,500.

■ capacity + NOUN

▪ a capacity audience (=the largest number of people who can fill a theatre, hall etc)

The lecture attracted a capacity audience.

▪ a capacity crowd (=the largest number of people that can fit in a place)

A capacity crowd of 40,000 turned up at the stadium.

• • •


▪ size noun [uncountable and countable] how big someone or something is:

What size is that shirt?


The price will depend on the size and quality of the carpet.


Your desk is exactly the same size as mine.


Fire has destroyed an area of forest the size of Luxembourg.


The seeds are very small, about half the size of a grain of salt.


There were several pieces of wood of different sizes.


Cover the dough and allow it to rise until it has doubled in size.


The black spots on her skin seemed to be slowly increasing in size.


The American states vary enormously in size, from very large to very small.


In a class this size, there will always be a few problems.

▪ dimensions noun [plural] the length, width, and height of an object, room, building etc:

What are the dimensions of the table?

▪ measurements noun [plural] the length, width, or height of something, or of someone’s body:

I need to check the measurements of the window.


your waist measurement is 31 inches


The nurse took my measurements.

▪ proportions noun [plural] the relative sizes of the different parts of an object, room, building etc:

The proportions don’t look right to me.


You can sit in the Plaza and admire the proportions of the cathedral.

▪ area noun [uncountable and countable] the amount of space that a flat surface such as a floor or field covers:

To measure the area of a room, you need to multiply the length by the width.

▪ extent noun [uncountable] the size of a large area:

The extent of the ranch is enormous.


The island measured about 1,600 kilometres in extent.

▪ bulk noun [uncountable] the very large size of something:

The statue’s massive bulk made it difficult to move.


his enormous bulk


The view was dominated by the huge bulk of the power station.

▪ capacity noun [singular] the amount that a container will hold:

The capacity of the tank is around 500 gallons.


The computer’s memory has a capacity of over 200 megabytes.


All the storage units were filled to capacity.

▪ volume noun [singular] the amount of space that a substance fills, or that an object contains:

The average domestic swimming pool has a volume of 45,000 litres.


This instrument measures the volume of air in your lungs.


Help me figure out the volume of this fish tank.


The shifting of continents has an impact on the volume of water the oceans can contain.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.