Pronunciation: (di-pärt'munt), [key]
1. a distinct part of anything arranged in divisions; a division of a complex whole or organized system.
2. one of the principal branches of a governmental organization: the sanitation department.
3. (cap.) one of the principal divisions of the U.S. federal government, headed by a Secretary who is a member of the President's cabinet.
4. a division of a business enterprise dealing with a particular area of activity: the personnel department.
5. a section of a retail store selling a particular class or kind of goods: the sportswear department.
6. one of the sections of a school or college dealing with a particular field of knowledge: the English department.
7. one of the large districts into which certain countries, as France, are divided for administrative purposes.
8. a division of official business, duties, or functions: judicial departments.
9. a sphere or province of activity, knowledge, or responsibility: Paying the bills is not my department.
10. (usually cap.) U.S. Army.(formerly) a large geographical division of the U.S. or its possessions as divided for military and defense purposes: the Hawaiian Department.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.