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.
    • 1603, William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act II, scene ii:
      What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason!
      how infinite in faculty!
    • 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 notesEdit

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


Related termsEdit


Further readingEdit