Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Middle English faculte (power, property), from Old French faculte, from Latin facultas (capability, ability, skill, abundance, plenty, stock, goods, property; in Medieval Latin also a body of teachers), another form of facilitas (easiness, facility, etc.), from facul, another form of facilis (easy, facile); see facile.


  • IPA(key): /ˈfæ.kəl.ti/
  • (file)


faculty (plural faculties)

  1. (chiefly US) The academic staff at schools, colleges, universities or not-for-profit research institutes, as opposed to the students or support staff.
  2. A division of a university.
    She transferred from the Faculty of Science to the Faculty of Medicine.
  3. Often in the plural: an ability, power, or skill.
    He lived until he reached the age of 90 with most of his faculties intact.
    • 1704, [Jonathan Swift], “Section IX. A Digression Concerning the Original, the Use and Improvement of Madness in a Commonwealth.”, in A Tale of a Tub. [], London: [] John Nutt, [], OCLC 752990886, pages 169–170:
      The preſent Argument is the moſt abſtracted that ever I engaged in, it ſtrains my Faculties to their higheſt Stretch; and I deſire the Reader to attend with utmoſt perpenſity; For, I now proceed to unravel this knotty Point.
    • 1974, Thomas S[tephen] Szasz, chapter 12, in The Myth of Mental Illness, →ISBN, page 201:
      I have used the notion of games so far as if it were familiar to most people. I think this is justified as everyone knows how to play some games. Accordingly, games serve admirably as models for the clarification of other, less well-understood, social-psychological phenomena. Yet the ability to follow rules, play games, and construct new games is a faculty not equally shared by all persons.
  4. An authority, power, or privilege conferred by a higher authority.
  5. (Church of England) A licence to make alterations to a church.
  6. The members of a profession.

Usage notes[edit]

In the sense of academic staff at a university, academic staff, teaching staff or simply staff are preferred in British English.


Related terms[edit]


Further reading[edit]