1. A distinct, usually specialized division of a large organization, especially:
a. A principal administrative division of a government: the department of public works.
b. A division of a business specializing in a particular product or service: the personnel department.
c. A division of a school or college dealing with a particular field of knowledge: the physics department.
2. Department One of the principal executive divisions of the federal government of the United States, headed by a cabinet officer.
3. A section of a department store selling a particular line of merchandise: the home furnishings department.
4. An administrative district in France.
5. A unit of a warships crew, organized by function, such as gunnery or engineering.
6. An area of particular knowledge or responsibility; a specialty: Getting the kids to bed is my department.
[French département, from Old French, separation, from departir, to divide; see depart.]
department /dprtmnt/ n.1 a division (of a business, college, organization, etc.) with a specific function: He works for a newspaper in the art (editorial, advertising, etc.) department.2 a branch of government: the Department of Defense-adj.departmental /diprtmntl/; -adv.departmentally.