department

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Borrowing from French département.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

department (plural departments)

  1. A part, portion, or subdivision.
  2. A distinct course of life, action, study, or the like.
    Technical things are not his department; he's a people person.
    • 2014 November 14, Stephen Halliday, “Scotland 1-0 Republic of Ireland: Maloney the hero”, The Scotsman:
      Flair and invention were very much at a premium, suffocated by the relentless pace and often fractious nature of proceedings. The absence of James Morrison from the centre of Scotland’s midfield, the West Brom man ruled out on the morning of the game by illness, had already diminished the creative capacity of the home side in that department.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Thomas Babington Macaulay
      Superior to Pope in Pope's own peculiar department of literature.
  3. A subdivision of an organization.
    1. (often in proper names) One of the principal divisions of executive government
      the Treasury Department; the Department of Agriculture; police department
    2. (in a university) One of the divisions of instructions
      the physics department; the gender studies department
  4. A territorial division; a district; especially, in France, one of the districts composed of several arrondissements into which the country is divided for governmental purposes.
    • 2002, Colin Jones, The Great Nation: France from Louis XV to the 1715-99, Penguin 2003, p. 427:
      The departments were the bricks from which the edifice of the nation was to be constructed.
  5. (historical) A military subdivision of a country; as, the Department of the Potomac.
  6. (obsolete) Act of departing; departure.
    • (Can we date this quote?), Wotton
      sudden 'departments from one extreme to another

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

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See also[edit]