From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishabilitya‧bil‧i‧ty /əˈbɪləti/ ●●● S2 W1 noun (plural abilities) 1 [countable]CAN the state of being able to do somethingability to do something the ability to walk The health center serves all patients, regardless of their ability to pay.2 LEVEL[countable, uncountable] someone’s level of skill at doing something The test measures your mathematical ability. mixed ability classesof high/low etc ability students of average ability There are musicians of all abilities.somebody's abilities as something He showed his abilities as a leader.3 → to the best of your abilityGrammarAbility is followed by an infinitive with ‘to’, not by an -ing form. You say: I admire his ability to listen. ✗Don’t say: I admire his ability of listening.COLLOCATIONS – Meanings 1 & 2adjectiveshigh/low/average abilitya group of low ability pupilsMany of these students are of above average ability.Children of high ability demand more absorbing tasks.great/considerable abilityHe was a young man of great ability.These drawings required considerable ability on the part of the artist.remarkable/outstanding/exceptional abilitya writer of remarkable abilityThe company aims to select people of outstanding ability.his exceptional ability as a swimmermixed ability (=at different levels)a mixed ability classuncanny ability (=an unusual ability that is difficult to explain)He has an uncanny ability for spotting investment opportunities.natural ability (also innate ability formal) (=an ability that you are born with)He didn't have the natural ability of his brother.Babies have an innate ability to do simple maths. physical/athletic abilityHe has considerable athletic ability.artistic/creative abilityYou do not need to have any artistic ability.musical abilityTim showed musical ability at an early age.acting abilityHer acting abilities were obvious straightaway.mental abilityThe exercises are supposed to help you improve your mental ability.intellectual/academic abilityNo one doubts his intellectual abilities.A degree is evidence of your academic ability in a particular subject area.verbal/linguistic ability (=language skills)The test is intended to measure the children's linguistic ability.mathematical abilityThese students have a higher level of mathematical ability.proven ability (=that you have proved through your achievements)Companies often value the proven ability and reliability of older employees.verbshave the ability to do something (also possess the ability to do something formal)She has the ability to make people feel relaxed. show/demonstrate the ability to do somethinga chance for candidates to demonstrate their abilities lack the ability to do somethingAs a young man, he lacked the ability to say no.phrasesa level of ability/ability levelThe children were of the same age and ability level.a range of ability/ability rangeThere is a wide range of ability within the class.Disruptive behaviour is more prominent in the lower ability range.a test of ability/an ability testExaminations are not always a good test of ability.The class was given a verbal ability test.an ability group (=a group that students are taught in, based on their level of ability)Children are divided into different ability groups.
Examples from the Corpusability• Stepping is a structured exercise class with an ability level for everyone.• Even children of above-average ability are not always ready to begin school.• No one doubts his ability to get work done quickly.• Luckily, she had innate ability to judge people quickly and accurately.• For the regime, the fact that it presided over a cowed, debilitated populace enhanced its ability to remain in power.• leadership ability• But her colleagues and superiors could not fault her dedication to the job, speaking highly of her nursing ability.• The course material depends on the level of ability of the student.• Maria will be a fine musician; she shows a lot of ability.• Our ability to think and speak makes us different from other animals.• The children are divided into groups according to their reading ability.• Indeed, the use of electronic documentation systems should enhance a organisation's ability to maintain full and accurate records.• You have been given the ability to recognise your own apprehensions, to accept them and then to let them go.• Communism failed and capitalism will falter if we do not give people the ability to make their dreams come true.• I think that a compelling vision combined with a unique ability to manage risk is the magic behind successful entrepreneurs.ability to do something• Her special attribute was her ability to draw friends and allies for a lifetime, based on fleeting contact.• One manifestation of this is the packages ability to search for headings with certain tags and attributes.• The goal is to improve the company's ability to compete.• Horses have a similar ability to misunderstand.• I have, as have other people in similar situations, developed the ability to almost see in the dark.• Activated carbon has the ability to remove a wide variety of organic compounds from water and wastewater, even in trace quantities.• Another is the ability to assign named paragraph styles to text.• If champions are gauged by their ability to win tough fights, Marco Antonio Barrera has quite a future.• Boilly had the uncanny ability to record the individual and the crowd simultaneously.of high/low etc ability• Most students, by definition, will be of average ability, with a smaller number below average.• The Commissioner is a recognizable national figure, in modern times invariably a career police officer of high ability.• Even when possessed of high ability he is often forced to settle for the position i on the catastrophe surface.-ability-ability /əbɪləti/ (also -ibility) suffix XXmakes nouns from adjectives ending in -able and -ible manageability
Examples from the Corpus-ability• availability• probabilityOrigin ability (1400-1500) Old French habilité, from Latin habilitas, from habilis; → ABLE -ability Old French -abilité, from Latin -abilitas, from -abilis; → -ABLE