able

adjective
\ 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 able (audio) \;ablest\ ˈā-​b(ə-​)ləst How to pronounce able (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 verbs breakablecollectible
2 : tending, given, or liable to agreeable perishable

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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Auburn should be able to have success running the football against the Missouri defense regardless of who plays quarterback, and an effective running game should open up some passing opportunities for Auburn’s quarterback. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, 22 Sep. 2022 When there was no flow, the clusters moved forward in a far more direct path towards their target than individual sperm were able to do. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian Magazine, 22 Sep. 2022 But with Russia’s forces unable to prevail against its next-door neighbor Ukraine, Middle Eastern leaders must wonder how much Putin will be able to do for them—a question of special concern to Assad. Time, 21 Sep. 2022 So in that way, Kanye was right about mental enslavement being able to do a lot of work that physical enslavement alone could not do. WIRED, 21 Sep. 2022 But overall the move has to be toward national policy that limits what states are able to do. The Politics Of Everything, The New Republic, 21 Sep. 2022 Senzel had never been able to play in more than 100 games for the Reds in a season because of injuries. Charlie Goldsmith, The Enquirer, 21 Sep. 2022 Michael Pittman not being able to play reinforced that the Colts are not good enough at wide receiver. Scott Horner, The Indianapolis Star, 19 Sep. 2022 Miraculously, Posty was able to play five more songs; however, the set was much shorter than normal. Katrina Nattress, SPIN, 18 Sep. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near able

ablaze

able

-able

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Statistics for able

Last Updated

25 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Able.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/able. Accessed 29 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for able

able

adjective
\ 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

-able

adjective suffix
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.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on able

Nglish: Translation of able for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of able for Arabic Speakers

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