Ca*pac"i*ty (?), n.; pl.
Capacities (-tĭz). [L. capacitus,
fr. capax, capacis; fr. F. capacité.
See Capacious.] 1. The power of
receiving or containing; extent of room or space; passive power;
-- used in reference to physical things.
Had our great palace the capacity
To camp this host, we all would sup together.
The capacity of the exhausted cylinder.
2. The power of receiving and holding
ideas, knowledge, etc.; the comprehensiveness of the mind; the
receptive faculty; capability of understanding or
Capacity is now properly limited to these
[the mere passive operations of the mind]; its primary
signification, which is literally room for, as well as its
employment, favors this; although it can not be denied that there
are examples of its usage in an active sense.
Sir W. Hamilton.
3. Ability; power pertaining to, or
resulting from, the possession of strength, wealth, or talent;
possibility of being or of doing.
The capacity of blessing the people.
A cause with such capacities endued.
4. Outward condition or circumstances;
occupation; profession; character; position; as, to work in the
capacity of a mason or a carpenter.
5. (Law) Legal or moral
qualification, as of age, residence, character, etc., necessary
for certain purposes, as for holding office, for marrying, for
making contracts, wills, etc.; legal power or right;
Capacity for heat, the power of
absorbing heat. Substances differ in the amount of heat requisite
to raise them a given number of thermometric degrees, and this
difference is the measure of, or depends upon, what is called
their capacity for heat. See Specific heat, under
Syn. -- Ability; faculty; talent; capability; skill;
efficiency; cleverness. See Ability.