Performance vs Ability - What's the difference?

performance | ability |

As nouns the difference between performance and ability

is that performance is the act of performing; carrying into execution or action; execution; achievement; accomplishment; representation by action while ability is (obsolete) suitableness .



Alternative forms

* performaunce


(en noun)
  • The act of performing; carrying into execution or action; execution; achievement; accomplishment; representation by action.
  • *{{quote-book, year=1959, author=(Georgette Heyer), title=(The Unknown Ajax), chapter=1
  • , passage=Charles had not been employed above six months at Darracott Place, but he was not such a whopstraw as to make the least noise in the performance of his duties when his lordship was out of humour.}}
  • That which is performed or accomplished; a thing done or carried through; an achievement; a deed; an act; a feat; especially, an action of an elaborate or public character.
  • A live show or concert.
  • (computer science) The amount of useful work accomplished by a computer system compared to the time and resources used.
  • Usage notes

    * Adjectives often applied to "performance": high, poor, improved, superior, excellent, good, peak, top, optimal, low, economic, academic, financial, musical, human, environmental, vocal, cognitive, dynamic, organizational, historical, physical, social, mechanical, electrical, mental, macroeconomic.

    Derived terms

    * command performance


    * play * show * movie * concert



    Alternative forms

    * (obsolete) hability


  • (obsolete) Suitableness.
  • (uncountable) The quality or state of being able; capacity to do; capacity of doing something; having the necessary power.
  • *{{quote-magazine, date=2013-07-19, author=(Peter Wilby)
  • , volume=189, issue=6, page=30, magazine=(The Guardian Weekly) , title=[ Finland spreads word on schools] , passage=Imagine a country where children do nothing but play until they start compulsory schooling at age seven. Then, without exception, they attend comprehensives until the age of 16. Charging school fees is illegal, and so is sorting pupils into ability groups by streaming or setting.}}
  • The legal wherewithal to act.
  • *{{quote-magazine, date=2013-06-22, volume=407, issue=8841, page=68, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title=[ T time] , passage=The ability to shift profits to low-tax countries by locating intellectual property in them, which is then licensed to related businesses in high-tax countries, is often assumed to be the preserve of high-tech companies.}}
  • (archaic) Financial ability.
  • (uncountable) A unique power of the mind; a faculty.
  • * (rfdate) (Francis Bacon) (1561-1626)
  • Natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by study -
  • (countable) A skill or competence in doing; mental power; talent; aptitude.
  • * (rfdate) (King James Bible) , (w) 11:29
  • Then the disciples, every man according to his ability , determined to send relief unto the brethren.
  • * (rfdate) (1800-1859)
  • The public men of England, with much of a peculiar kind of ability
  • * {{quote-news, year=2011, date=November 10, author=Jeremy Wilson, work=Telegraph
  • , title=[ England Under 21 5 Iceland Under 21 0: match report] , passage=The most persistent tormentor was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who scored a hat-trick in last month’s corresponding fixture in Iceland. His ability to run at defences is instantly striking, but it is his clever use of possession that has persuaded some shrewd judges that he is an even better prospect than Theo Walcott.}}

    Usage notes

    * (skill or competence) Usually used in the plural. * Ability, capacity : these words come into comparison when applied to the higher intellectual powers. ** Ability has reference to the active'' exercise of our faculties. It implies not only native vigor of mind, but that ease and promptitude of execution which arise from mental training. Thus, we speak of the ''ability'' with which a book is written, an argument maintained, a negotiation carried on, etc. It always supposes something to be ''done'',George Crabb, 1826, ''[ English synonymes explained in alphabetical order]'', Collins & Hannay, page 13 and the power of ''doing it. ** Capacity has reference to the receptive'' powers. In its higher exercises it supposes great quickness of apprehension and breadth of intellect, with an uncommon aptitude for acquiring]] and retaining knowledge. Hence it carries with it the idea of ''resources'' and undeveloped power. Thus we speak of the extraordinary ''capacity'' of such men as , and [[w:Edmund Burke, Edmund Burke. "''Capacity''," says H. Taylor, "is requisite to devise, and ''ability to execute, a great enterprise." * The word abilities , in the plural, embraces both these qualities, and denotes high mental endowments.


    * (quality or state of being able) capacity, faculty, capability * (a skill or competence) See * (high level of skill or capability) talent, cleverness, dexterity, aptitude * (suitability or receptiveness to be acted upon) capability, faculty, capacity, aptness, aptitude