adjective \ˈā-bəl\

Definition of able

  1. 1a :  having sufficient power, skill, or resources to do something able to solve a problemb :  having the freedom or opportunity to do something hopes to be able to visit soonc :  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. 2 ablerplay \-b(ə-)lər\; ablestplay \-b(ə-)ləst\ :  marked by intelligence, knowledge, skill, or competence an able administrator


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

Examples of able in a sentence

  1. He will buy a new car as soon as he is able.

  2. He turned out to be an able editor.

  3. She is one of the ablest lawyers in the firm.

Origin and Etymology of able

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 1give

First Known Use: 14th century


adjective suffix
variants: or less commonly


Definition of -able

  1. 1 :  capable of, fit for, or worthy of (being so acted upon or toward) —chiefly in adjectives derived from verbs breakable collectible

  2. 2 :  tending, given, or liable to agreeable perishable


or less commonly


adverb suffix

Origin and Etymology of -able

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)

ABLE Defined for English Language Learners


adjective suffix

Definition of -able for English Language Learners

  • : fit for or worthy of being

  • : likely to or capable of

  • : having a certain quality

ABLE Defined for Kids


adjective \ˈā-bəl\

Definition of able for Students




  1. 1 :  having enough power, resources, or skill to do something Are you able to swim?

  2. 2 :  having the freedom or opportunity to do something I'll come when I'm able.

  3. 3 :  having or showing much skill an able dancer


adjective suffix \ə-bəl\
variants: also



Definition of -able for Students

  1. 1 :  capable of, fit for, or worthy of being lovable flexible

  2. 2 :  tending or likely to changeable




\ə-blē\ adverb suffix adorably

Law Dictionary



Legal Definition of able

  1. 1 :  possessed of needed powers or of needed resources to accomplish an objective able to perform under the contract

  2. 2 :  having freedom from restriction or obligation or from conditions preventing an action able to vote

  3. 3 :  legally qualified :  possessed of legal competence able to inherit property

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