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facility

Printable Version Pronunciation: fê-si-lê-tee Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. Ease of doing something, a gift or talent, as to have a facility for acquiring foreign languages. 2. Something designed to accommodate an activity or make it easier to carry out, as medical facilities in a hospital or parking facilities in a city.

Notes: Today's word in its second sense is generally used in the plural, as reflected in the examples above. Remember to convert the [y] to [ie] before the -s: facilities. Other than that, we need to avoid confusing this word with faculty, an ability or power to do something, especially a mental capacity. Someone with a facility to learn language can learn new languages easily. Someone with a faculty for learning language simply has the ability; it may still be hard work for them.

In Play: Remember that facility has always been associated with ease of doing something: "Rocky Rhodes must be a trained contortionist; he seems to have a facility for sticking his foot in his mouth." Artifacts that make our life easier are also facilities: "We have a good library but the copying facilities in the building can't handle the demand when term papers fall due."

Word History: Today's Good Word came to us, via Old French, from Latin facilis "easy". The Latin word originated in PIE *dho-/dhe- which came directly down to English as do and is also found in deed, a thing done and doom. The PIE [dh] emerged in Latin as [f], giving facere "to make, to do". This root turns up in dozens of words aside from today's Good Word, such as fact and all the words ending with -fect, such as defect, perfect, and infect. In Greek it turns up in thesis "a placement or placing" from tithenai "to put".

Dr. Goodword, alphaDictionary.com

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