English

Definition of department noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

  

department

 noun
noun
BrE BrE//ˈpɑːtmənt//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˈpɑːrtmənt//
 
(abbreviation Dept) University life, In the office, In the store
 
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  • a section of a large organization such as a government, business, university, etc. the Department of Health the Treasury Department a government/university, etc. department the marketing/sales, etc. department the children’s department (= in a large store) the English department see also police department, State Department See related entries: University life, In the office, In the store
  • Word Origin late Middle English: from Old French departement, from departir, based on Latin dispertire ‘to divide’. The original sense was ‘division or distribution’, later ‘separation’, hence ‘a separate part’ (core sense, mid 18th cent.).Extra examples A new member of staff has joined the department. Complaints are dealt with in a different department. Contact our sales department for more information. Staff criticized the way the history department was run. The Tokyo police department is clamping down on organized crime. the Department for Transport the Department of Planning to gain promotion within the department I work in the sales department. Several professors from the history department will also speak at the event. The Department of Trade and Industry refused to comment on the allegations. The children’s department sells a wide range of good quality clothes.Idioms
    be somebody’s department
     
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    (informal) to be something that somebody is responsible for or knows a lot about Don't ask me about it—that's her department.
    See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: department