Imagine a country where children do nothing but play until they start compulsory schooling at age seven. Then, without exception, they attend comprehensives until the age of 16. Charging school fees is illegal, and so is sorting pupils into ability groups by streaming or setting.
The legal wherewithal to act. [First attested in the mid 17th century.]
The ability to shift profits to low-tax countries by locating intellectual property in them, which is then licensed to related businesses in high-tax countries, is often assumed to be the preserve of high-tech companies.
(now limited to Scotlanddialects) Physical power. [First attested from around (1350 to 1470).]
(archaic) Financial ability. [First attested in the early 16th century.]
(uncountable) A unique power of the mind; a faculty. [First attested in the late 16 th century.]
The most persistent tormentor was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who scored a hat-trick in last month’s corresponding fixture in Iceland. His ability to run at defences is instantly striking, but it is his clever use of possession that has persuaded some shrewd judges that he is an even better prospect than Theo Walcott.
Ability, capacity : these words come into comparison when applied to the higher intellectual powers.
Ability has reference to the active exercise of our faculties. It implies not only native vigor of mind, but that ease and promptitude of execution which arise from mental training. Thus, we speak of the ability with which a book is written, an argument maintained, a negotiation carried on, etc. It always supposes something to be done,[usage 1] and the power of doing it.
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