able

adjective
\ˈā-bəl \

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\ -​b(ə-​)lər \; ablest\ -​b(ə-​)ləst \ : 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 verbs breakablecollectible

2 : tending, given, or liable to agreeable perishable

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Other Words from able

Adjective

ably \ ˈā-​b(ə-​)lē \ adverb
a task performed ably

Adjective suffix

-ably or less commonly -ibly adverb suffix

Synonyms & Antonyms for able

Synonyms: Adjective

capable, competent, equal, fit, good, qualified, suitable

Antonyms: Adjective

incompetent, inept, poor, unfit, unfitted, unqualified

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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.

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

When that section is complete visitors will be able to walk around a preserve in two states. Peter Marteka, courant.com, "10 Miles Of Trails Open 7 Days A Week, 52 Weeks A Year. Sherman's Deer Pond Farm Makes Its Debut," 13 July 2018 Again, back to the mental health references: depression stops you from being able to see the bright side. Paige Williams, Billboard, "Twenty One Pilots' 'Trench': Decoding the Clues They've Left About Their New Album," 12 July 2018 Had Diane, 64, died from a cause other than murder, Tex McIver would have been able to reclaim his late's wife portion of the ranch. Christian Boone, ajc, "Tex McIver’s Putnam County ranch on auction block," 11 July 2018 In its application, Ascension said its Shorewood Family Physicians clinic has reached its physical capacity and is not able to accommodate any additional growth. Jeff Rumage, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Former Sendik's building in Shorewood could become medical clinic," 13 July 2018 Dispatch showed nothing in tow logs and deputies were not able to find any witnesses or suspect information. Austen Erblat, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Wellington, Royal Palm Beach area crime log: June 15-30," 13 July 2018 Researchers also found bones of pigs and deer, but were not able to provide proof that the tools were used for hunting. Time, "A Discovery in China Suggests That Human-Like Species Left Africa 250,000 Years Earlier Than Believed," 13 July 2018 Macy’s does not keep Social Security numbers or CVV numbers saved on customers profiles, the company said, meaning that information was not able to be accessed. Alex Soderstrom, ajc, "Macy’s says hackers accessed customer credit card information," 12 July 2018 The deer also wasn't able to drink from Purcell's watering site, which is what Purcell said really concerned her. Jordan Cutler-tietjen, sacbee, "Doe in distress: Auburn deer can't eat because of peanut butter jar, resident says," 10 July 2018

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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Statistics for able

Last Updated

8 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for able

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

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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

able

adjective
\ˈā-bəl \
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

able

adjective

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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Comments on able

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