Definition of department in English:

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Pronunciation: /dəˈpärtmənt/


1A division of a large organization such as a government, university, business, or shop, dealing with a specific subject, commodity, or area of activity: the English department
More example sentences
  • He left to join the finance department of Monklands Council, and found himself drawn into trade union work.
  • They came from five departments of the University of Vienna and one department of the University of Salzburg.
  • This door in the terraced row led to the history department of the university, or at least the offices for the staff.
division, section, sector, unit, branch, arm, wing;
office, bureau, agency, ministry
1.1An administrative district in France and other countries.
Example sentences
  • The occupation of the north-eastern departments of France throughout the war also helped to prolong this consensus.
  • Federal departments in France, Germany, China, and even the US have adopted Linux servers.
  • The country is divided into six departments containing eighty-four districts.
1.2 (one's department) informal An area of special expertise or responsibility: that’s not my department
More example sentences
  • I think Lyn needs to take a long look in the mirror before proclaiming herself an expert in this department.
  • Ponting himself is relishing the responsibility because he has had a chequered past in that department.
  • And the Aussies, the world's sledging experts, reckon he is a soft touch in that department.
domain, territory, province, area, line;
responsibility, duty, function, business, affair, charge, task, concern
informal baby, bag, bailiwick
1.3 [with modifier] informal A specified aspect or quality: I never thought of myself as above average in the looks department
More example sentences
  • In the rhythm department bassist Jeff Halsey was unflappable and clearly has much to offer.
  • Political power and share in authority does affect every department and aspect of life.
  • And if you think that a car with no metal chassis has to be suspect in the strength department think again.


Late Middle English: from Old French departement, from departir (see depart). The original sense was 'division or distribution', later 'separation', hence 'a separate part' (core sense, mid 18th century).

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Syllabification: de·part·ment

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