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Ability   /əbˈɪləti/   Listen
Ability

noun
(pl. abilities)
1.
The quality of being able to perform; a quality that permits or facilitates achievement or accomplishment.
2.
Possession of the qualities (especially mental qualities) required to do something or get something done.  Synonym: power.



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"Ability" Quotes from Famous Books



... employ in my reasoning; and perhaps even this was not very necessary, but might have been supplyd by the natural principles of our understanding. Our scholastic head-pieces and logicians shew no such superiority above the mere vulgar in their reason and ability, as to give us any inclination to imitate them in delivering a long system of rules and precepts to direct our judgment, in philosophy. All the rules of this nature are very easy in their invention, but extremely difficult in their application; and even experimental philosophy, which ...
— A Treatise of Human Nature • David Hume

... fireplace out of some stones he picked up. It always did him great good to have things fixed to suit his ideas of what a cooking fire ought to be when in camp. It was fast becoming a hobby with Josh; and yet, strange to say, with all his ability in the line of cookery, he was often unable to partake of his own savory messes on account of his disposition ...
— Motor Boat Boys Down the Coast - or Through Storm and Stress to Florida • Louis Arundel

... never at any time, while in the United States, commanded salaries (or incomes) equal to some I had received in England; and I am now more than ever convinced of the fact that England offers an unequalled field for a teacher of ability and perseverance, always provided that he is as competent an authority on cricket and boating as he is on Greek particles and the working of the differential calculus. I speak, of course, simply of the ordinary university graduate, who (like myself), not ...
— Lippincott's Magazine, Vol. 22, September, 1878 • Various

... for her goodness and piety to the forgiving care of her children, having stood between them and her as far as I could to the best of my ability." ...
— The Devil's Disciple • George Bernard Shaw

... to counterbalance the censure of arrogance, and to turn off my attention from the threats of criticism. The world will, perhaps, be something softened, when it shall be known, that my intention was to have lived by means more suited to my ability, from which being now cut off by a total privation of sight, I have been persuaded to suffer such essays, as I had formerly written, to be collected and fitted, if they can be fitted, by the kindness of my friends, for the press. The candour of those ...
— The Works of Samuel Johnson in Nine Volumes - Volume V: Miscellaneous Pieces • Samuel Johnson

... of Robbie—that the fetiches of the house of Walling were always treated with respect. So he had wondered if by any chance Robbie was maintaining his brother in princely state for the sake of his ability to make other people uncomfortable. But he realized that the Robbies, in their own view of it, could have no more need of wit than a battleship has need of popguns. Oliver's position, when they were about, ...
— The Metropolis • Upton Sinclair

... assertive man who was at once father to her and hero. Perceiving this, Madeira, with her, entered into a sort of world of make-believe, and, with her, was sometimes able to take himself for what she held him, a man whose honour matched his ability, and, with her, sometimes surprised in himself the little glow that she seemed to get when she was ...
— Sally of Missouri • R. E. Young

... would have been a real son to the mistress. He would have lived in her house, and have surrounded her old age with care and affection. And then, he was so full of ability that he could not help attaining a brilliant position. She would have helped him, and would have rejoiced in his success. And all this scaffolding was overturned because this Panine had crossed Micheline's ...
— Serge Panine, Complete • Georges Ohnet

... few voyages as a sailor before the mast, and acted with such ability and courage that the Governor of Tortuga Island, Monsieur de la Place, gave him the command of a vessel and sent him out ...
— The Pirates' Who's Who - Giving Particulars Of The Lives and Deaths Of The Pirates And Buccaneers • Philip Gosse

... Chattanooga preceding the battle of Missionary Ridge. At my request he was selected to command the Third Division. General Grant thought highly of him, and, expecting much from his active mental and physical ability, readily assented to assign him in place of General Kilpatrick. The only other general officers in the corps were Brigadier-General Wesley Merritt, Brigadier-General George A. Custer, and Brigadier-General Henry E. Davies, each ...
— The Memoirs of General P. H. Sheridan, Complete • General Philip Henry Sheridan

... parents have at the birth of their first-born child"—the joy now of the {206} soul crying, "Abba"; (3) A vastly heightened perception of what is involved in the eternal nature of the religious life and in the spiritual relation between the soul and God, i.e. increased ability to see what promotes and furthers the soul's health and development; (4) A unification, co-ordination, and centralizing of the inner faculties, so that there is an increment of power revealed in the entire personality; ...
— Spiritual Reformers in the 16th & 17th Centuries • Rufus M. Jones

... as I can tell," replied Dan Anderson, "since you retain me and ask my legal opinion, the fundamental title to the valley of Heart's Desire lies in the ability of every fellow there to hit a tin can at forty yards with a six-shooter. There's hardly a tin can in the street that you could cook a ...
— Heart's Desire • Emerson Hough

... Miss Palliser's ability had been a disadvantage to her at Mauleverer Manor. When Miss Pew discovered that the girl had a knack of teaching she enlarged her sphere of tuition, and from taking the lowest class only, as former articled pupils had done, Miss Palliser ...
— The Golden Calf • M. E. Braddon

... money in my pocket to pay my cab fare from Canterbury; and don't you try on any of your games with me, because I am not the sort of man to stand them. You are a fine lot of workmen I know, but there isn't one of you who has the pluck and ability to take two thousand pound's worth of that stuff and turn it into cash in a week. Now look at the last parcel I had, I got rid of it in such a manner that no one could possibly discover that I ever handled the metal at all. Who among you could say ...
— The Mystery of the Four Fingers • Fred M. White

... where I am, he shall always find rather a defender than an accuser. To be sure, my opinion will go but a very little way to decide his character; what of that? People should do right as far as their ability extends. You are not to suppose, from all this, that Mr. W. and I are on very amiable terms; we are not at all. We are distant, cold, and reserved. We seldom speak; and when we do, it is only to exchange the most ...
— The Life of Charlotte Bronte - Volume 1 • Elizabeth Gaskell

... greatest resources of the human mind is its ability to persuade itself that what is necessary is noble or dignified or honorable or pleasant. For example, the greater part of the human race has been found to live under conditions of almost incessant warfare. War being a necessity from which there was no escape, it was ...
— Quaker Hill - A Sociological Study • Warren H. Wilson

... continue to render services of the greatest possible value to the country. I, therefore, confidently here submit a doubt whether human ingenuity could devise any system calculated to lead to a greater waste of parliamentary ability, or more effectually keep from the front and position of influence that legislative superiority which was the arm of Aristotle to secure. "Cant-patriotism," as your Francis Lieber termed it; and, on this score, he waxed eloquent. "Do we not live in a world ...
— 'Tis Sixty Years Since • Charles Francis Adams

... would have been too easy. We left him there with one portable water-maker and all of that unpalatable but nourishing fungus which thrives upon Avis Solis that he could eat. I have no doubt that he lived until madness reduced his ability to feed himself." ...
— The Marooner • Charles A. Stearns

... death-rattle from Gabrielle de Vergy, and, when he played Dionysius, tyrant of Syracuse, the way in which he represented that personage gazing at his son while exclaiming, "Monster, worthy of me!" was indeed terrible. Pecuchet forgot his part in it. The ability, and not the will, ...
— Bouvard and Pecuchet - A Tragi-comic Novel of Bourgeois Life • Gustave Flaubert

... abroad called his own servants, and delivered to them his goods; (15)and to one gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and straightway went abroad. (16)And he that received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained other five talents. (17)Likewise also he that received the two gained other two. (18)But he that received the one went away and digged in the earth, ...
— The New Testament of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. • Various

... college has supplied—what the emergencies of the country demanded—a set of men more useful in its present state, and whose deficiency in theoretical knowledge has not been found to imply a want of practical ability. ...
— Fanshawe • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... are as rooted as Faith,—Don Mateo took no offense and summoned Dona Gregoria. I was playing a close second to the diplomat of our side of the house, and when his Spanish failed him and he had recourse to English, it is needless to say I handled matters to the best of my ability. The Spanish is a musical, passionate language and well suited to love making, and though this was my first use of it for that purpose, within half an hour we had won the ranchero and his wife to our ...
— A Texas Matchmaker • Andy Adams

... late Mrs. Holcroft, and—I must say it—I went away depressed by a sense of her lack of ability to develop in her husband those qualities which would make him an ornament to society. She was a silent woman, she lacked mind and ideas. She had seen little of the world and knew not what was swaying people. Therefore, her husband, having nothing else to think ...
— He Fell in Love with His Wife • Edward P. Roe

... respects to you in the writing way, though I must address myself, it seems, to my dearest Mr. B.; and I hope to be received on these my own terms, since they are your brother's also, and, at the same time, such as will convince you, how much I wish to approve myself, to the best of my poor ability, your ladyship's most obliged sister, ...
— Pamela (Vol. II.) • Samuel Richardson

... out of ignorance, but chiefly out of ill-will to us, while they calumniate Moses as an impostor and deceiver, and pretend that our laws teach us wickedness, but nothing that is virtuous, I have a mind to discourse briefly, according to my ability, about our whole constitution of government, and about the particular branches of it. For I suppose it will thence become evident, that the laws we have given us are disposed after the best manner for the advancement of piety, ...
— Against Apion • Flavius Josephus

... adding under his breath; "and if you are a man of any ability, there is at least nothing to indicate ...
— The Widow Lerouge - The Lerouge Case • Emile Gaboriau

... many throes and some sickness and debility, or, it may be, by graver disturbances; so that every good citizen must feel bound to facilitate the process, and even if he have nothing but a scalpel to work withal, to ease the cracking integument to the best of his ability. ...
— On the Relations of Man to the Lower Animals • Thomas H. Huxley

... and Professor John McVickar, James Renwick, Professor of Chemistry, whose mother, Jennie Jeffery, was Burns's "Blue-e'ed Lassie," and Professor Charles Anthon, all of whom filled chairs in that institution with unquestioned ability. My father was also a member of the St. Andrews Society of New York. After his death, President Duer in an impressive address alluded to him in the ...
— As I Remember - Recollections of American Society during the Nineteenth Century • Marian Gouverneur

... entirely justified on the part of the queen this preference. Where, it might be asked, could a fitter successor be found to lord Burleigh in the post which he had so long filled to the satisfaction of his sovereign and the benefit of his country, than in the son who certainly inherited all his ability;—though not, as was afterwards seen, his principles or his virtues;—and who had been trained to business as the assistant of his father and under his immediate inspection? Why should the earl of ...
— Memoirs of the Court of Queen Elizabeth • Lucy Aikin

... most of his income from land situated in another, he was taxable at the place of his residence, at a rate perhaps entirely different from that of the parish in which his farm was situated. It might happen that a large part of the lands of a parish were owned by non-residents, and that the ability of the parish to pay its taxes was thus reduced. But there were exceptions to the rule by which the tax followed the person, and the whole matter was so complicated as to be a fertile cause of dispute and of double taxation.[Footnote: Turgot, ...
— The Eve of the French Revolution • Edward J. Lowell

... little. "The magistrate would put questions to me—wouldn't he, sir? Very good. You put questions to me, and I'll answer them to the best of my ability." ...
— The Guilty River • Wilkie Collins

... well known, but of the sort that need repeating. Will our brethren of their charity acquit us of the charge of presumption in taking up the theme now timidly approached? Many, very many, who turn these leaves will bring to their perusal far greater ability, and knowledge, and experience than we are able to wield in their writing. A few men learn the value of wealth from the possession of it; more from a lack thereof. Nothing better teaches the value of money than the association in the learner's experience of ...
— The Message and the Man: - Some Essentials of Effective Preaching • J. Dodd Jackson

... the other hand, was really a cool and determined fellow; and while Charlie was in the throes speculating about probable dissolution before the morrow's sun should rise, Bob was actually priding himself on superior ability in handling a revolver. He was, in fact, far too arrogant a man to imagine that he could be shot by a silly boy like Walker. He had made up his mind to shoot straight when the signal fell, and indulged in the devilish pleasure it would afford him to read a ...
— Scottish Football Reminiscences and Sketches • David Drummond Bone

... under the impression," he said, "that husbands and wives can talk exactly as well as any other two people. Exactly as well, and no better. The necessary conditions for real conversation are a real interest in and knowledge of a common subject; ability on the part of both to contribute something to that subject. Well, if a husband and wife can meet those terms, they can talk. But the joker is, as our legislative friend over there would say," (he nodded down the table toward a ...
— The Real Adventure • Henry Kitchell Webster

... just observation cannot be too forcibly urged, or too frequently recollected. The deficiency of which most men have reason to complain, is not that of ability, but of industry and application. Genius is pursued and coveted, because it is imagined to be a sort of creating energy which produces at will, and without labour.—It is therefore desirable to indolent minds. But this is a mistake of no small detriment, though of very ...
— A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Vol. 13 • Robert Kerr

... he had dimly foreseen on the night of her return from the Mile End meeting had happened. This young man, ill-balanced, ill-mated, yet full of a sensitive ability and perception, had fallen in love with her; and Maxwell owed his political salvation to ...
— Sir George Tressady, Vol. II • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... are often used in such a way that a wrong impression is made. A disease may be infectious but not contagious. Malaria is an instance. Infection means an ability to enter the body from any source, wind, water, food or other persons and produce a characteristic disease. The agency doing this is known as a germ. Contagion is properly a poisoning of one individual from contact with a diseased individual ...
— Mother's Remedies - Over One Thousand Tried and Tested Remedies from Mothers - of the United States and Canada • T. J. Ritter

... afraid that nothing that I can say will persuade you to alter a way of life which you seem to have chosen, but it seems to me very sad that one of your ability should so ...
— A Dozen Ways Of Love • Lily Dougall

... intolerant, it was difficult to persuade him that any opinions could be just which were opposed to those of the circle in which he lived; and out of that pale, it must be owned, he was as little inclined to recognise the existence of ability as ...
— Venetia • Benjamin Disraeli

... tells the truth about anything startling that happens on board a passenger boat gets fired. The convention is to wrap the thing in mystery, if it can't be denied. Besides, the ability to take what you might call a quick, bird's-eye view isn't a British gift; an Englishman would have concentrated on some particular point. Anyhow, I can't see how the boat came to be where she was at the time mentioned." He turned to ...
— Brandon of the Engineers • Harold Bindloss

... that the Burgesses in one act should assert their own sovereignty in the most emphatic terms, and in the next elect as their Governor this ardent servant of the Crown. If it had been their only aim to choose a leader of executive ability, they did not lack men of power and experience whose love of popular government was unquestioned. Berkeley had in his first administration ruled justly and well, but there is no reason to think that Virginia had been more prosperous and happy under him than under the Commonwealth Governors. ...
— Virginia under the Stuarts 1607-1688 • Thomas J. Wertenbaker

... great ability. She was consulted by the children of Israel in all matters of government, of religion and of war. Her judgment seat was under a palm tree, known ever after as "Deborah's Palm." Though she was one of the great judges ...
— The Woman's Bible. • Elizabeth Cady Stanton

... they were,' said Jasper. 'At least the giants, and that they handed on some of their ability through Ham, to the Egyptians, and all those queer primeval coons, whose works we are ...
— Beechcroft at Rockstone • Charlotte M. Yonge

... action it mattered nothing to him that his previous preparations were to a great extent rendered useless by this news that had come with such paralyzing effect. In the sweeping consciousness of his own ability, he found added joy in the freedom it opened up. He ceased to consider that by fate he was a Conservative, bound by traditional conventionalities: in that great moment he knew himself sufficiently a man to exercise whatever individuality instinct prompted. He ...
— The Masquerader • Katherine Cecil Thurston

... the spoils, the Czar claimed the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, to be nominally under the rule of a sovereign, but really to be incorporated with his vast empire. Metternich resisted this claim with all the ability he had, as bringing Russia too dangerously near the frontiers of Austria; but Alexander had laid Prussia under such immense obligations that Frederick William supported his claims,—with the mutual understanding, however, ...
— Beacon Lights of History, Volume IX • John Lord

... program should be accompanied by action to increase services to the nation's schools by the Office of Education and by legislation to provide continuation of payments to school districts where Federal activities have impaired the ability of those districts to ...
— State of the Union Addresses of Dwight D. Eisenhower • Dwight D. Eisenhower

... these early Masters (or whichever one it was) to the best of my ability. At any given moment in the last few years there have been ten letters that I absolutely must write, thirty which I ought to write, and fifty which any other person in my position would have written. Probably I have written ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 153, Nov. 28, 1917 • Various

... said nothing, but fixed his eye on the rogue, and that eye said, "One word of discontent and the moment he is gone I massacre you." Then followed in every case the old theatrical business according to each rogue's measure of ability. They were in the Elysian fields; one thing alone saddened them; some day or other they ...
— It Is Never Too Late to Mend • Charles Reade

... standing one each side of the poor beast, they both abused it. They abused its dead mother, they insulted its father; they made cutting remarks about its personal appearance, its intelligence, its moral sense, its general ability as a horse. The animal bore the torrent with exemplary patience for awhile; then it did the best thing possible to do under the circumstances. Without losing its own temper, it moved quietly away. The lady returned to her washing, and the man followed ...
— Three Men on the Bummel • Jerome K. Jerome

... how to whip a rope's end; form splices; braid sinnett; make a running bowline, and do a variety of things peculiar to the web-footed gentry. Some of them also tried hard, by precept and example, but in vain, to induce me to chew tobacco and drink grog! Indeed, they regarded the ability to swallow a stiff glass of New England rum, without making a wry face, as one of the most important qualifications of ...
— Jack in the Forecastle • John Sherburne Sleeper

... broken limbs, and can let blood, you may truthfully say that I have some slight knowledge of the healing art. But as for treating a sick woman—However, I leave it to you, Gondocori. If you choose to introduce me to her Majesty as a medicine-man I will act the part to the best of my ability." ...
— Mr. Fortescue • William Westall

... in 1775. He took part in the "Potato War" of 1778, and subsequently devoted himself to the study of his profession and of the sciences and arts. He was throughout his life devoted to music, his great musical ability bringing him to the notice of Frederick William II., and about 1790 he was conspicuous in the most fashionable circles of Berlin. He did not, however, neglect his military studies, and in 1792 he was made military instructor to the ...
— Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 4, Part 4 - "Bulgaria" to "Calgary" • Various

... has existed within our memory whose retirement was wished for by so few, and deprecated by so many among all classes of men. We have doubted the policy of some of its measures, and more than doubted the propriety of others. But we have never ceased to respect the energy, the ability, and the honesty of the great men composing it; and have always felt that in those points on which we could not agree with them, they were entitled to a generous forbearance, due to their responsible and arduous position, as the ministers who have most strenuously and most successfully ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 363, January, 1846 • Various

... no mechanical ability, and was on the point of giving up the scheme when he met Smith. He was instantly impressed by the engineer's highly commonplace face; he had had considerable experience with human contrariness, and felt sure that Smith must be an absolute ...
— The Lord of Death and the Queen of Life • Homer Eon Flint

... sharp, if not a long attack of illness, which left me weak, shaken, passive, so that I felt neither ability nor wish to resist those who took me into their hands. I remember being surprised at the goodness of every one toward me; astonished at Frau Lutzler's gentle kindness, amazed at the unfailing goodness of Dr. Mittendorf and his wife, at that ...
— The First Violin - A Novel • Jessie Fothergill

... an iron-sinewed miner on the goldfields, or with a hardy, nine-lifed bushman in the back country? In the back country, a penniless and friendless 'gentleman,' if sober and honest and possessed of some little ability, may aspire to the position of a station storekeeper. If destitute of these advantages—and reduced 'gentlemen' are not by any means always sober, honest, and capable—the best thing he can do, if he gets the chance, is to settle down thankfully into the innocent occupation so earnestly desired ...
— Such is Life • Joseph Furphy

... In comparison with reason (as the faculty of Ideas, the faculty of thinking the infinite) even the greatest thing that can be given in the sense-world appears small; reason is the absolutely great. "That is sublime the mere ability to think which proves a faculty of the mind surpassing every standard of sense." "That is sublime which pleases immediately through its opposition to the interest of the senses." The conflict between phantasy and reason, the insufficiency of the former for the attainment of the rational ...
— History Of Modern Philosophy - From Nicolas of Cusa to the Present Time • Richard Falckenberg

... observed the condition of the blacks in countries where the laws, the religion and the national habits tend to mitigate their fate; yet I retained, on quitting America, the same horror of slavery which I had felt in Europe. In vain have writers of ability, seeking to veil barbarous institutions by ingenious turns of language, invented the expressions negro peasants of the West Indies, black vassalage, and patriarchal protection: that is profaning the noble qualities of the mind and the imagination, for the purpose of exculpating by illusory ...
— Equinoctial Regions of America V3 • Alexander von Humboldt

... is still another point upon which, although with hesitation, I will advert for a moment. I am distrustful of my own ability to deal becomingly with a theme on which the noble Lord so well touched; but nevertheless I feel that I must refer to it. I was glad to hear from the noble Lord that he intends to propose a vote of condolence with the relatives of those who have fallen in this contest. Sir, we ...
— MacMillan's Reading Books - Book V • Anonymous

... none of these things or creatures existed, we could trust to Barnum to make them out of hand. The Museum, then, is only a temporary loss, and much as we sympathize with the proprietor, the public may trust to his well-known ability and energy to soon renew a place of amusement which was a source of so much innocent pleasure, and had in it so ...
— A Unique Story of a Marvellous Career. Life of Hon. Phineas T. • Joel Benton

... damnation of the heathen. On the contrary, Muller, in his "Diss. de Paganorum poet Mortem Conditione," and Marmontel, in his "Belisaire," take a more favorable view of the fate of the ethnic world. The best work on the subject a work of great geniality and ability is Eberhard's "Neue Apologie des Socrates." Also see Knapp's Christian ...
— The Destiny of the Soul - A Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life • William Rounseville Alger

... younger Adams to determine his own career, which apparently he was left to do for himself. He was indeed a singular young man, not unworthy of such confidence! The glimpses which we get of him during this stay abroad show him as the associate upon terms of equality with grown men of marked ability and exercising important functions. He preferred diplomacy to dissipation, statesmen to mistresses, and in the midst of all the temptations of the gayest capital in the world, the chariness with which he sprinkled his wild oats amid ...
— John Quincy Adams - American Statesmen Series • John. T. Morse

... something like perfect ventilation is assured. If the air is simply taken from the basement—a poor place to go for air—heated, passed through the rooms, returned, and heated over again, we may well pray to be delivered from such "ventilation." The success of the furnace depends not upon ability to keep up a rousing fire but upon a proper regulation of air currents. Many a first-class furnace, properly installed, fails to work satisfactorily because the principle of heating is not understood. Even with ...
— The Complete Home • Various

... happened but a little while ago; think of the tunnel that led you hither! If that poor brain of yours contains an atom of ability, put two ideas together and remind yourself that the passage by which you entered is there and open for your escape! You will do nothing of the kind. The light, an irresistible attraction, holds you subjugated against the palisade; and the shadow of the yawning pit, which has ...
— The Glow-Worm and Other Beetles • Jean Henri Fabre

... recorder, reasoner, and ruler; and for one gem of poetry or other beauty of purely literary value which she quotes, there are fifty records of principles of action. The acquisition of knowledge was her favourite pastime, her principal pleasure in life, and there were no doubts of her own ability to disturb her so long as there was no self-consciousness. Unfortunately, however, for her tranquillity, the self-consciousness had to come. She approached the verge of womanhood. She was made to do up her hair. She was encouraged to think of being presented, coming ...
— The Heavenly Twins • Madame Sarah Grand

... answered, in a tone like sarcasm, and went on. Her father, a literary man of high ability, set aside from work by ill-health, thought himself above creeds. He had given his daughter a man's education, had read many argumentative books with her, and died, leaving her liberally and devoutly inclined in the spirit of Pope's universal prayer—'Jehovah, Jove, or Lord.' ...
— Hopes and Fears - scenes from the life of a spinster • Charlotte M. Yonge

... foreign consuls and General Otis that it had been promulgated and become the law of the land. It was not promulgated. It had not become the law of the land. It served one important purpose. It passed into the hands of the Americans and showed them the ability and the aspirations of certain individuals of the archipelago, but Mabini and his followers did not believe in its form or in its provisions, and Mabini at least was emphatic in his declarations that the time had not yet come for it to be put into effect. On January 24, 1899, he ...
— The Philippines: Past and Present (vol. 1 of 2) • Dean C. Worcester

... left his study, went to the parlor, got down on his knees and carefully examined the machinery, which was all in plain sight, not being enclosed in a case. This he did repeatedly, and evidently seemed a little proud of my ability to invent and whittle such a thing, though careful to give no encouragement for anything more of the kind ...
— The Story of My Boyhood and Youth • John Muir

... the reader. To love a book is to invite an intimacy with it which opens the way to its heart. One of the wisest of modern readers has said that the most important characteristic of the real critic—the man who penetrates the secret of a work of art—is the ability to admire greatly; and there is but a short step between admiration and love. And as if to emphasise the value of a quality so rare among critics, the same wise reader, who was also the greatest writer of modern times, says also that "where keen perception unites with good will and ...
— Books and Culture • Hamilton Wright Mabie

... for bringing away the heat generated inside the chamber and for preventing the loss of heat by maintaining the walls adiabatic, it is still necessary to demonstrate the ability of the calorimeter to measure known amounts of heat accurately. In order to do this we pass a current of electricity of known voltage through a resistance coil and thus develop heat inside the respiration chamber. While, undoubtedly, the use of a standard resistance and potentiometer is the ...
— Respiration Calorimeters for Studying the Respiratory Exchange and Energy Transformations of Man • Francis Gano Benedict

... ignoring, to the best of my ability, the beetles on the floor, I proceeded to expend my curiosity—and occupy my thoughts —in an examination of the bed. It only needed a very cursory examination, however, to show that the seeming bed was, in reality, none at all,—or if it was a bed after the manner of ...
— The Beetle - A Mystery • Richard Marsh

... the other, as the case may be, to run its allotted sixty minutes with decorous exactitude. I recollect being once told by the late eminent naturalist, Agassiz, that when he was to deliver his first lecture as professor (at Zuerich, I believe) he had grave doubts of his ability to occupy the prescribed three quarters of an hour. He was speaking without notes, and glancing anxiously from time to time at the watch that lay before him on the desk. "When I had spoken a half hour," he said, "I had told them everything I knew in the world, everything! Then ...
— Harvard Classics Volume 28 - Essays English and American • Various

... ability to make a succession of straight flights, taking his machine into the air with precision and landing without awkwardness, the pupil finds himself faced next with the problem of turning while in the air. On this stage, however, he is not allowed ...
— Learning to Fly - A Practical Manual for Beginners • Claude Grahame-White

... his possibilities. This is his attitude as expressed in his Notes on Virginia in 1782, whenever he referred to the Negro. Ignorant of the fact that science shows that no race is superior to another, Jefferson considered the blacks inferior to the Indians, believed that they lacked literary ability, the finer senses of other races and although exhibiting a little aptitude in music were both physically and mentally inferior to ...
— The Journal of Negro History, Volume 3, 1918 • Various

... boys must have their fun, Giraffe; and if you're wise you'll laugh with them," Thad remarked. "When they find it doesn't bother you, the chances are they'll quit quizzing you on your eating ability. Doctor Philander said that the only danger lay in your putting to great a strain on your ...
— The Boy Scouts' First Camp Fire - or, Scouting with the Silver Fox Patrol • Herbert Carter

... life—the talent of enjoyment to the utmost with the least degree of trouble to himself. Lumley Ferrers was thus exactly one of those men whom everybody calls exceedingly clever, and yet it would puzzle one to say in what he was so clever. It was, indeed, that nameless power which belongs to ability, and which makes one man superior, on the whole, to another, though in many details by no means remarkable. I think it is Goethe who says somewhere that, in reading the life of the greatest genius, we always find that he was acquainted with some men superior to himself, who yet ...
— Ernest Maltravers, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... just, he must see that he speaks only with high respect of Hans von Bulow. His knowledge, ability, experience are astounding, and border on the fabulous. Especially has he, by long years of study, so thoroughly steeped himself in the understanding of Beethoven, that it seems scarcely possible for any one else to approach near ...
— Letters of Franz Liszt, Volume 2: "From Rome to the End" • Franz Liszt; letters collected by La Mara and translated

... knew exactly where to sell it at a half-million dollars' profit. His tremendous race for a million was to be won, with a day or so of margin. There were a few technical matters to look after, but in reality the prize was his. He could go to Constance Joy now with a clear conscience and the ability to offer her a fortune equal to the one she would have to relinquish if ...
— Five Thousand an Hour - How Johnny Gamble Won the Heiress • George Randolph Chester

... helplessly. "They picked a very sensible system for getting a good strong Grdznth population on the new parallel as fast as possible. The males were picked for brains, education, ability and adaptability; the females were chosen largely according to how ...
— PRoblem • Alan Edward Nourse

... ready for launching Jack and Hal had made themselves so valuable to their employer that the boys were allowed to take to the water with the boat when it left the stocks. Eph Somers, freckle-faced and sunny aired, was a Dunhaven boy who had fairly won his way aboard the same craft by his many sided ability. Yet, under the direction of Messrs. Farnum and Pollard these youngsters so rapidly acquired the difficult knack of handling submarine boats that they remained aboard. In the end Jack Benson became the recognized captain of the ...
— The Submarine Boys' Lightning Cruise - The Young Kings of the Deep • Victor G. Durham

... Whatever Mrs. Ridge's ability as a critic of humour might be, at least she was a good prophet. Nearly all the machines were busy the next morning, and new arrivals kept dropping in throughout ...
— Mary Minds Her Business • George Weston

... beyond that nothing. The river that might have been blocked was open; the earthworks had no cannon, the men no guns. Such a collapse was never seen. There was no organization, no material, no money. The men wanted officers to command and teach them; the officers wanted authority and ability to command. The people looked to their rulers to repel the invaders; the rulers looked to the people. There was no common intelligence or will between them. Everything was wanting; nothing was as it should be. ...
— The Soul of a People • H. Fielding

... Under his profligate exterior his Grace of Wharton concealed—indeed, wasted—a deal of shrewdness, ability and inherent strength. "One thing at a time, my lord," said the president of the Bold Bucks. "Let us attend to the matter of ...
— The Lion's Skin • Rafael Sabatini

... Maggiore, he placed his immediate ambition in a Canonry at St. Peter's, and harboured the dream of some day becoming Secretary of the Consistorial Congregation, a post conducting to the cardinalate. A theologian of remarkable ability, Monsignor Fornaro incurred no other reproach than that of occasionally sacrificing to literature by contributing articles, which he carefully abstained from signing, to certain religious reviews. He was also said to be ...
— The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete - Lourdes, Rome and Paris • Emile Zola

... permitted by thee to rule as he likes a number of concerns at the same time appertaining to the army? Is any servant of thine, who hath accomplished well a particular business by the employment of special ability, disappointed in obtaining from thee a little more regard, and an increase of food and pay? I hope thou rewardest persons of learning and humility, and skill in every kind of knowledge with gifts of wealth and honour ...
— The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 1 • Kisari Mohan Ganguli

... was able to ensure success by his own ability and, perhaps to a still greater degree, by the assistance of Jackson and O'Connor, who were at that time the leading advertising firm ...
— Grey Town - An Australian Story • Gerald Baldwin

... who is not a fanatic. On the contrary, let us not grudge Mr Arnold a hero so congenial to himself, and so little repulsive to any of us. He could not have had a better subject; nor can Falkland ever hope for a vates better consecrated, by taste, temper, and ability, ...
— Matthew Arnold • George Saintsbury

... character is the story of the Hermit of Warkworth. It is unfortunate that this, the most tragic and moving of all Northumbrian tales, should be most widely known by means of the prosy imitation ballad by Dr. Percy, whose ability as a poet did by no means equal his zeal as a collector of ballads. The hero of the sorrowful tale is said to have been a Bertram of Bothal, who loved fair Isabel, daughter of the lord of Widdrington. Bertram was a knight in Percy's train, ...
— Northumberland Yesterday and To-day • Jean F. Terry

... assured him promptly, always secretly marveling at David's ability to use words with which she was unfamiliar. "It ...
— Polly of Lady Gay Cottage • Emma C. Dowd

... West erroneously think that an eloquent speaker or writer on metaphysics must be a master. The rishis, however, have pointed out that the acid test of a master is a man's ability to enter at will the breathless state, and to maintain the unbroken SAMADHI of NIRBIKALPA. {FN21-5} Only by these achievements can a human being prove that he has "mastered" MAYA or the dualistic Cosmic Delusion. He alone can say from the depths of ...
— Autobiography of a YOGI • Paramhansa Yogananda

... Gordon knew, had died, their families were scattered; others had removed from the County; logical substitutes had to be evolved. The mere comparison of the various entries, the tracing of the tracts to the amounts involved, was scarcely within Gordon's ability. ...
— Mountain Blood - A Novel • Joseph Hergesheimer

... by her brother's accomplishments, and she loved him, and believed in him with all her heart. The Hallams hitherto had no reputation for mental ability. In times of need England had found them good soldiers and ready givers; but poets and scholars they had never been. Antony affected the latter character. He spoke several languages, he read science and German philosophy, and he talked such radical politics to ...
— The Hallam Succession • Amelia Edith Barr

... The Heathenism of the Fairies. II. Their need, thence arising. III. Maud's ability to ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 55, No. 344, June, 1844 • Various

... the memoirs already quoted, gives M. Ollivier full credit for his honesty, ability, and sincere patriotism in undertaking his difficult task, which was begun in an evil hour, and failed through adverse circumstance. In May 1870, Ollivier, who was holding the portfolio of Foreign Affairs, transferred it to the Duc de Gramont, foreseeing no troubles abroad, and desiring to ...
— Studies in Literature and History • Sir Alfred Comyn Lyall

... foot treading gingerly among irrelevant personal considerations. And just as we are all willing to preach, we are all willing to be preached at—it gives us such an opportunity of gauging the preacher's morality and ability. The Scotch peasants who denounce their meenister's orthodoxy are an extreme case, but if we were not really judging our judges we should go to opposition churches. What we demand from preaching—as from newspapers—is an echo of our own voices, and when the preacher or the newspaper ...
— Without Prejudice • Israel Zangwill

... finally ventured the remark, that he thought our soldiers fought even better than the Turks, but that on the whole our system of military administration seemed rather worse than that of the Greeks. As a nation we had prided ourselves on our business ability and adroitness in the arts of peace, while outsiders, at any rate, did not credit us with any especial warlike prowess; and it was curious that when war came we should have broken down precisely on the business and administrative ...
— Rough Riders • Theodore Roosevelt

... 1733, at Fieldhead, near Leeds, and brought up among Calvinists of the straitest orthodoxy, the boy's striking natural ability led to his being devoted to the profession of a minister of religion; and, in 1752, he was sent to the Dissenting Academy at Daventry—an institution which authority left undisturbed, though its existence contravened the law. The teachers under whose instruction and influence the ...
— Science & Education • Thomas H. Huxley

... failures, he thought, if folk were only wise. If a man came a cropper in a big way, it was because he had rushed into a work before Destiny, the invisible infallible nuncio of God, had chosen her man. Or because he was dissatisfied, ambition and ability not being equal. Or because he ...
— The Wind Bloweth • Brian Oswald Donn-Byrne

... in her eyes, drawn forth by the vehement passion of grief apparent in the whole tone of her poor little friend. She had no doubts of Carey's love, sorrow, or ability, but she did seriously doubt of her wisdom and judgment, and thought her undisciplined. However, she could say no more, for Nita Ray and Janet were advancing ...
— Magnum Bonum • Charlotte M. Yonge

... I repaired to the king's, knowing the power of my gun to obtain an interview, whilst doubting the ability of the Wakungu to gain an audience for me. Such was the case. These men had been sitting all day without seeing the king, and three shots opened his gate immediately to me. He was sitting on the ...
— The Discovery of the Source of the Nile • John Hanning Speke

... valuable considerations; no allowance was made for improvements, nor any provision for protestant widows; the possessor, and tenants were not even allowed to remove their stock and corn. When the bill was sent up to the lords, Dr. Dopping, bishop of Meath, opposed it with equal courage and ability, and an address in behalf of the purchasers under the act of settlement was presented to the king by the earl of Granard; but notwithstanding these remonstrances, it received the royal assent, and the protestants of ...
— The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.II. - From William and Mary to George II. • Tobias Smollett

... he can but afford to do so, each having wives in proportion to his wealth and means; but the first wife is always held in highest consideration. The men endow their wives with cattle, slaves, and money, according to their ability. And if a man dislikes any one of his wives, he just turns her off and takes another. They take to wife their cousins and their fathers' widows (always excepting the man's own mother), holding to be no sin many things ...
— The Travels of Marco Polo Volume 1 • Marco Polo and Rustichello of Pisa

... schools of artists arose in various cities, dependent usually for their fame on the ability of some individual sculptor. "Among these schools, those of Aegina and Athens are the most important. Of the former school the works of Onatus are by far the ...
— TITLE • AUTHOR

... translated into Vulcan's limp. Any God's ability to heal himself through the machine's power was dependent on the God's own mentality and outlook. And Vulcan had never been able to cure his limp; the psychic ...
— Pagan Passions • Gordon Randall Garrett

... twenty-six British authors who have written on this subject, and whose names are familiar to every reader; to these, Mr. Bain's own name, and those of Mr. Lecky, Mr. Shadworth Hodgson, Sir J. Lubbock, and others, might be added.) of consummate ability; and my sole excuse for touching on it, is the impossibility of here passing it over; and because, as far as I know, no one has approached it exclusively from the side of natural history. The investigation possesses, also, some independent interest, as an attempt to see how ...
— The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex • Charles Darwin

... resumed, after a little. "It is the greatest mystery—their being here. The man shows culture and familiarity with men and things; he is unusually keen and shrewd in business matters, while the way he has managed his daughter's education betrays the scholar and a mind of no ordinary power and ability; and to be here, working with the common herd in a mine! I do not ...
— Virgie's Inheritance • Mrs. Georgie Sheldon

... With regard to permanence, the Spanish system cannot for a moment be compared with that of America. While each of the colonies, in order to favour a privileged class by immediate gains, exhausted still more the already enfeebled population of the metropolis by the withdrawal of the best of its ability, America, on the contrary, has attracted to itself from all countries the most energetic element, which, once on its soil and, freed from all fetters, restlessly progressing, has extended its power and influence still further and further. The Philippines will escape the action ...
— Lineage, Life, and Labors of Jose Rizal, Philippine Patriot • Austin Craig

... prove herself to possess marked ability as a business manager. Quietly, and without undue assertion, she reorganized the affairs of the High Cliff House. No one detected any difference in the quality of the meals served there, in their variety or ample sufficiency. ...
— Thankful's Inheritance • Joseph C. Lincoln

... which he could seize upon, and which did not remove all his disquietude, and confound all his suspicions. From this moment, and ever afterward, every shadow was effaced from his mind; for the ability to imagine such a plot as that in which his wife in her despair had sought refuge, or to comprehend such depth of perversity, was not in the General's ...
— Monsieur de Camors, Complete • Octave Feuillet

... all such judgments were necessarily partial, and the Baron preferred to reserve his opinion until he could come to a trustworthy conclusion from personal observation. And then he added: "But all this is not enough. The young man ought to have not merely great ability, but a right ambition, and great force of will as well. To pursue for a lifetime a political career so arduous demands more than energy and inclination—it demands also that earnest frame of mind which is ready of its own accord to sacrifice mere pleasure to real usefulness. If ...
— Queen Victoria • Lytton Strachey

... to him and he stood up. I could feel the men thrill, even more positively than they had thrilled when he appeared from among his retinue. I conjectured, instantly, that he had felt, if not an actual dread of the mutineers, at least a doubt as to his ability to quell them and a need for all possible adventitious aids. Thus I explained to myself his having donned, that morning, trappings such as his father had worn on frontier campaigns, apparently with the purpose of eliciting ...
— Andivius Hedulio • Edward Lucas White

... truly glad to find two or three old shipmates on board. One of them was Gerrard Delisle, my greatest friend. We had gone afloat at the same time and were exactly the same age and standing, though, I must confess, he was vastly my superior in education and ability. He had all the gallantry and impetuosity of an Irishman, with a warm heart full of generous feelings, and at the same time the polish of a man of the world, not always to be obtained in a cock-pit. Another friend of mine was Noel Kennedy, ...
— Hurricane Hurry • W.H.G. Kingston

... same line of reasoning applies if for the individual A we take the country of the United States. If it tries to increase its factories, machinery, etc., in excess of its ability to pay, it can only do so by borrowing from other countries; and if it cannot pay the interest on such loans, the "savings," in the shape of fixed capital which it has endeavoured to secure for itself, ...
— The Evolution of Modern Capitalism - A Study of Machine Production • John Atkinson Hobson

... Sir,' she said sadly; 'I've tried, but my ability is not much, and he is a lively lad, and I'm sometimes afraid to be ...
— Friarswood Post-Office • Charlotte M. Yonge

... punctually fulfilled his promise in regard to the manuscripts, and I had but to glance at them in order to understand the smile that he had interchanged with Don Rafael when I so airily had expressed my confidence in my ability to read them. To say that I more easily could read Hebrew is not to the purpose, for I can read Hebrew very well; but it is precisely to the purpose to say that I could not read them at all! What with the curious, involved formation of the several letters, the extraordinary ...
— The Aztec Treasure-House • Thomas Allibone Janvier

... upon you as the one politician left to us, who, by his ability and integrity, his eloquence and love of truth, his high standing as a thinker and writer, and his openness of mind, is able to become the leader of the English people in their struggle for freedom against ...
— Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters and Reminiscences Vol 2 (of 2) • James Marchant

... comes to town to-day, and I understand has made up his mind to hold a drawing-room, and sit during the time; I doubt even his ability to do this, if he has not greatly mended since I left Brighton. We shall lose the Catholic question to-morrow, at least this is my opinion; the state of Ireland, and of parties in that country, has ...
— Memoirs of the Court of George IV. 1820-1830 (Vol 1) - From the Original Family Documents • Duke of Buckingham and Chandos

... Kent, at fifty-one, was a tall, stately man, of soldierlike bearing, already inclined to great corpulence.... He had seen much of the world, and of men. His manner in society was pleasant and easy. He was not without ability and culture, and he possessed great activity. His dependents complained of his strictness and pedantic love of order.... The Duke was well aware that his influence was but small, but this did not prevent him from forwarding the petitions he received whenever it was possible, ...
— Life of Her Most Gracious Majesty the Queen V.1. • Sarah Tytler

... with no uncertain nor halting steps toward the object of his ambition. With the death of Hastings was removed the only man in England who might have blocked his purpose through either power or ability; and he and Buckingham were left free to play out to its end the wonderful game that won a kingdom without a single disturbance or the drawing of a sword. The moves followed one another in bewildering rapidity, yet with such consummate skill, that when in ...
— Beatrix of Clare • John Reed Scott

... expense of the Christians still further. For some time he was kept in check by the abilities of Baldwin III, King of Jerusalem. On his death, in 1162, his brother Amalric, far inferior to Baldwin in ability, succeeded ...
— Ten Great Events in History • James Johonnot

... acquired the ability to read this verse for themselves, and had grasped a little of its meaning, there was another outburst of delight. That first verse of Genesis is very suggestive and full of meaning to any one, no matter how learned, who ...
— On the Indian Trail - Stories of Missionary Work among Cree and Salteaux Indians • Egerton Ryerson Young

... the Chinese are a sociable people if given a chance. Of course, men like the husband of our hostess are the extreme of ability and advanced ideas here. But it is remarkable that he shows us things as they are. When we visited schools he did not arrange in advance because he did not want us to see a fixed up program. When we went out to lunch he took us to a Chinese place ...
— Letters from China and Japan • John Dewey

... doubt of my ability to make good my offer. I proceeded to explain the special conditions under which I ran my business. I ...
— The Rise of David Levinsky • Abraham Cahan

... comparison with any of the fine cavalry commands, which did constant service, of the Confederate army, and the testimony of more than one inspecting officer can be cited to that effect. More credit, too, has been given General Morgan for qualities and ability which constitute a good spy, or successful partisan to lead a handful of men, than for the very decided military talents which he possessed. He is most generally thought to have been in truth, the "Guerrilla ...
— History of Morgan's Cavalry • Basil W. Duke

... her, and wanted to do her harm. But he fairly persecuted her to receive his attentions. He was a young fellow, extremely young to be occupying so responsible a position. He undoubtedly had business ability. He showed it in his management of Elizabeth. The girl's life became a torment to her. In proportion as she appeared to be the manager's favorite the other girls became jealous of her. They taunted her with the manager's attentions on every possible occasion. When they found anything ...
— The Girl from Montana • Grace Livingston Hill

... her fan, while within the mirror an unsubstantial little maid repeated every gesture and did all the foolish things that Polly did, but without making her ashamed of them. In short, it was the fault of pretty Polly's ability, rather than her will, if she failed to be as complete an artifice as the illustrious Feathertop himself; and when she thus tampered with her own simplicity, the witch's phantom might well hope ...
— Short Stories of Various Types • Various

... extremely well adapted, and the steps in general are very pleasing. Some foreign comic dancers, on their coming here, apply themselves with great attention to the true study of the hornpipe, and by constant practice acquire the ability of performing it with success in foreign countries, where it always meets with the highest applause, when masterly executed. There was an instance of this, sometime ago at Venice, at an opera there, when the theatre was as well provided with good singers ...
— A Treatise on the Art of Dancing • Giovanni-Andrea Gallini

... by which I am known to the world as you can well conceive, but all were like me in their more fundamental family traits. We all had the same infirmities of character: we were all tenderfeet—lacking in grit, will power, self-assertion, and the ability to deal with men. We were easily crowded to the wall, easily cheated, always ready to take a back seat, timid, complying, undecided, obstinate but not combative, selfish but not self-asserting, always the easy victims of pushing, coarse-grained, ...
— My Boyhood • John Burroughs

... The administration, in full consultation with the relevant committees of Congress, should assess the full future budgetary impact of the war in Iraq and its potential impact on the future readiness of the force, the ability to recruit and retain high-quality personnel, needed investments in procurement and in research and development, and the budgets of other U.S. government agencies involved in the stability ...
— The Iraq Study Group Report • United States Institute for Peace

... an individual whose main talent lies in the ability to bawl out orders at men one yard distant in a voice having a hundred yards range. The possessors of some subtle superiority not descernible by ordinary individuals, they are for this reason forbidden to converse or walk with ...
— Norman Ten Hundred - A Record of the 1st (Service) Bn. Royal Guernsey Light Infantry • A. Stanley Blicq

... have any ability, which you can't tell, how do you enjoy it? You can't appreciate ...
— Literary Love-Letters and Other Stories • Robert Herrick

... 1995. If the government can stay the course on economic reform and fiscal discipline - which may be politically difficult in the election year of 1996 - Lithuania could be set for strong economic growth in the near term. As for real resources, Lithuania's growth depends largely on its ability to exploit its strategic location - with its ice-free port at Klaipeda and its rail and highway hub in Vilnius connecting it with Eastern Europe, Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine. Lacking important natural resources, it will ...
— The 1996 CIA Factbook • United States. Central Intelligence Agency.

... red, the head and neck deep blue, the back yellowish green, and the rump purple, the line of demarcation between the colors being sharp. They are frequently kept as cage birds but more for their bright colors than any musical ability, their song being of the character of the Indigo Bunting, but weaker and less musical. They are very abundant in the South Atlantic and Gulf States, where they nest usually in bushes or hedges at low elevations, but occasionally on branches of tall trees. Their nests are made of weeds, ...
— The Bird Book • Chester A. Reed



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