\ ˈā-bəl How to pronounce able (audio) \

Definition of able

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : having sufficient power, skill, or resources to do something able to solve a problem
b : having the freedom or opportunity to do something hopes to be able to visit soon
c : having a quality or nature that makes something possible a car able to hold five people : susceptible to some action or treatment a shoe able to be repaired
2 abler\ ˈā-​b(ə-​)lər How to pronounce abler (audio) \;ablest\ ˈā-​b(ə-​)ləst How to pronounce ablest (audio) \ : marked by intelligence, knowledge, skill, or competence an able administrator
variants: or less commonly -ible

Definition of -able (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : capable of, fit for, or worthy of (being so acted upon or toward) chiefly in adjectives derived from verbsbreakablecollectible
2 : tending, given, or liable to agreeable perishable

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Other Words from able

Adjective suffix

-ably or less commonly -ibly adverb suffix

Synonyms & Antonyms for able

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of able in a Sentence

Adjective He will buy a new car as soon as he is able. He turned out to be an able editor. She is one of the ablest lawyers in the firm.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The attackers were never able to make it inside the building. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "'It was terrifying': Gunmen attack Pakistan Stock Exchange," 29 June 2020 With the sewing machine donations, Hatathlie's group is now able to make masks on their own. Bethany Hines, CNN, "A volunteer 'sewing squad' distributed more than 55,000 masks to vulnerable communities in 3 months. They're not slowing down," 29 June 2020 Los Angeles Lakers were easily able to get millions in the first round of funding. Washington Post, "Billions of dollars in aid for small businesses go unclaimed," 29 June 2020 Travelers at Frankfurt airport, Germany’s biggest, will be able to get an on-site coronavirus test before jetting off. Emily Schmall, Anchorage Daily News, "Governments backtracking as confirmed virus cases surge," 29 June 2020 Jensenius said more people are able to get alerts on their mobile phones and track thunderstorms. Fox News, "Lightning deaths drop 'dramatically' over 2 decades across US, but danger still lingers," 26 June 2020 Guests who have already purchased single-day admission tickets will be able to make reservations for later dates, as will visitors who have not yet purchased tickets. Susan Glaser, cleveland, "Cedar Point, Kings Island, Kennywood, Waldameer prepare to reopen, with adjustments: Amusement park guide 2020," 25 June 2020 Note that select buyers may be able to get a pair of Airpods for less at MicroCenter with in-store pickup. Nicole Briese, USA TODAY, "The 5 best Amazon deals you can get this Thursday," 25 June 2020 Two strong candidates, juniors Shayne Simon and Jack Lamb, wouldn’t have been able to make a move in spring because of injuries. Eric Hansen, The Indianapolis Star, "As Notre Dame's workouts begin, here's a stab at Brian Kelly's to-do list," 23 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'able.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of able

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for able

Adjective

Middle English able, abill, borrowed from Anglo-French, going back to Latin habilis "easily handled or adjusted, adaptable," from habēre "to have, hold" + -ilis, alteration (by haplology before labial consonants) of -ibilis -ible — more at give entry 1

Adjective suffix

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French and Middle French, going back to Latin -ābilis, -ibilis, from -ā-, -i- (thematic vowels of various conjugations of verbs) + -bilis "capable (of acting) or worthy of (being acted upon)," going back to pre-Latin *-dhl-is, adjective suffix formed from the instrumental noun suffix *-dhl-om (whence Latin -bulum)

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Time Traveler for able

Time Traveler

The first known use of able was in the 14th century

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Statistics for able

Last Updated

2 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Able.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/able. Accessed 12 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for able

English Language Learners Definition of -able

: fit for or worthy of being
: likely to or capable of
: having a certain quality
\ ˈā-bəl How to pronounce able (audio) \
abler\ -​blər \; ablest\ -​bləst \

Kids Definition of able

1 : having enough power, resources, or skill to do something Are you able to swim?
2 : having the freedom or opportunity to do something I'll come when I'm able.
3 : having or showing much skill an able dancer
variants: also -ible \ ə-​bəl \

Kids Definition of -able

1 : capable of, fit for, or worthy of being lovable flexible
2 : tending or likely to changeable

Other Words from able

-ably also -ibly \ ə-​blē \ adverb suffix adorably

Choose the Right Synonym for able

Adjective

able and capable mean having the power to do or accomplish. able may be used for someone who has exceptional skill and has done well in the past. She is an able surgeon with years of experience. capable is usually used to describe someone who has the characteristics suitable for a particular kind of work. The recruits soon proved to be capable soldiers.

Legal Definition of able

1 : possessed of needed powers or of needed resources to accomplish an objective able to perform under the contract
2 : having freedom from restriction or obligation or from conditions preventing an action able to vote
3 : legally qualified : possessed of legal competence able to inherit property

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More from Merriam-Webster on able

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for able

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with able

Spanish Central: Translation of able

Nglish: Translation of able for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of able for Arabic Speakers

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