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 Park could afford to take a taxi herself but was keenly aware that there were many others in New York City, particularly Asian American senior citizens and Asian American women, who did not have the disposable income to be able to do the same. Jon Haworth, ABC News, "Woman raises over $100k in 2 days to pay for Asian American's taxi rides amid rise in hate crimes," 6 Apr. 2021 Many pressure cookers can now do more than just pressure cook, but this Yedi is able to do more still. Gabrielle Hondorp, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Pressure Cookers for Dinner in Minutes," 6 Apr. 2021 For example, during elections, citizens of every state need to know the state rules, be able to easily find their polling places and learn what’s on the ballot. NBC News, "Why women are 'critical' to Covid-19 vaccine distribution and acceptance," 6 Apr. 2021 The three-hour round-trip experience scales and descends Pike Peak, where visitors might be able to see views of Denver skyscrapers on a clear day. Cailey Rizzo, Travel + Leisure, "America’s Highest Railway Just Got a $100 Million Makeover — and It's Finally Reopening to the Public," 6 Apr. 2021 Because as adoption increases and the technology becomes smarter, your home will be able to do more, lightening your cognitive load. Brandon Bunker, Forbes, "How An '80s Movie Predicted The Home Operating System," 5 Apr. 2021 These benchmarks have proved a useful way to determine whether AI is better able to do more things—and to drive researchers toward creating AI tools that are even more useful. Jackie Snow, WSJ, "Why We Need New Benchmarks for AI," 5 Apr. 2021 David Kaelin of Game Over Video Games in Austin, Texas has also been able to find a niche for himself amidst the rise of online sales. Gabriel Solis, Wired, "Independent Video Game Stores Are Here to Stay," 5 Apr. 2021 Family reunion time: Players were able to see members of their families following the game. Chuck Carlton, Dallas News, "Baylor-Gonzaga quick hits: Bears mute Jalen Suggs in first half; Mark Few praises Scott Drew," 5 Apr. 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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Statistics for able

Last Updated

10 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Able.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/able. Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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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 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.

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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More from Merriam-Webster on able

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for able

Nglish: Translation of able for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of able for Arabic Speakers

Comments on able

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