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. Doublet of facility.
faculty (plural faculties)
- (chiefly US) The academic staff at schools, colleges, universities or not-for-profit research institutes, as opposed to the students or support staff.
- A division of a university.
- She transferred from the Faculty of Science to the Faculty of Medicine.
- (Often in the plural): an ability, power, or skill.
- He lived until he reached the age of 90 with most of his faculties intact.
- c. 1599–1602 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene ii]:
- What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason!
how infinite in faculty!
- 1624, John Donne, Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVIII., in The Complete Poetry and Selected Prose of John Donne, ed. Charles M. Coffin, New York: Modern Library (1952), pp. 442-444:
- If I will aske meere Philosophers, what the soule is, I shall finde amongst them, that will tell me, it is nothing, but the temperament and harmony, and just and equall composition of the Elements in the body, which produces all those faculties which we ascribe to the soule […]
- 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, 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.
- 1834, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], chapter XXXIII, in Francesca Carrara. […], volume III, London: Richard Bentley, […], (successor to Henry Colburn), →OCLC, page 273:
- It was some time before Johnstone recovered the full use of his faculties; his eyes unclosed but to stare fixedly upon the bank, which, however, was now unoccupied.
- 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.
- An authority, power, or privilege conferred by a higher authority.
- (Church of England) A licence to make alterations to a church.
- The members of a profession.
In the sense of academic staff at a university, academic staff, teaching staff or simply staff are preferred in British English.
- See also Thesaurus:faculty