General English



  • noun a section of a large store selling one type of product
  • noun a section of the British government containing several ministries


  • noun part of an organization
  • noun a major section of the British government headed by a Secretary of state


  • noun a section of a large organisation like a government, company or college
  • noun one of the large local administrative divisions of a country such as France

Origin & History of “department”

English has borrowed department from French département on two completely separate occasions. Originally, in late middle English, it was used for ‘departure’, but this died out in the mid-17th century. then in the 18th century it was re-acquired in the different sense ‘distinct division’; Dr Johnson, in his Dictionary 1755, dismisses it as a French term.