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

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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 Two chimeras made with spike proteins from bat coronaviruses were able to infect human cells. Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times, 24 July 2021 Dynamic player is a bull on skates; thick and extremely strong on his feet, able to drive through contact and get to the net at will. Kyle Woodlief, USA TODAY, 24 July 2021 Ever since, Democrats and hospital lobbyists have looked for ways to push state legislators to let able-bodied adults earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level into Medicaid. Bobby Jindal, WSJ, 23 July 2021 Using old telescope images, Ly was able spot the unnamed satellite orbiting Jupiter, which is nearly 385 million miles from Earth. David Kindy, Smithsonian Magazine, 23 July 2021 These projects are able to find a handful of shipwrecks that are in the area immediately surrounding the drone. Leila Character, The Conversation, 22 July 2021 For months now, travelers have reported renting U-Haul trucks, vans and other large vehicles – or not being able to find anything at all – at numerous popular destinations throughout the U.S., including Hawaii, Alaska and areas near national parks. Susan Glaser, cleveland, 22 July 2021 Zak has not been able to find the second of two contractors who hired him, delaying an already arduous process that has left him despondent. New York Times, 22 July 2021 Thankfully, the outlet was also able to find out find the true star of the ensemble. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, 22 July 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near able

ablaze

able

-able

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Statistics for able

Last Updated

27 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Able.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/able. Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.

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More Definitions for able

-able

adjective suffix

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 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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