ame·​na·​ble ə-ˈmē-nə-bəl How to pronounce amenable (audio) -ˈme- How to pronounce amenable (audio)
: having or showing willingness to agree or to accept something that is wanted or asked for
She said her peers wanted her to bend the rules, but she wasn't amenable.Erin Osmon
usually used with to
His boss was amenable to the idea of his working from home.
: readily yielding, submitting, or cooperating
usually used with to
a government not amenable to change
formal : able to be controlled, organized, or affected by something
usually used with to
The data is amenable to analysis.
a disease amenable to treatment
The United States has … a higher rate of "mortality amenable to health care"—that's statistics-speak for people dying because they didn't see a doctor in time—than culturally and economically comparable nations …Ben Burgis
: hospitable, suitable
The three factors necessary to spread disease are a pathogen, a host, and an amenable environment.Emily Gedde
… a tropical or subtropical, mostly evergreen, moist environment with daytime temperatures around 75 degrees with 60 percent humidity, comfortably amenable conditions for the plants and people alike.Lorene Edwards Forkner
often used with to
conditions amenable to life
: legally subject or answerable
usually used with to
Moreover, the Piedmont Regional Jail is not a "person," and therefore not amenable to suit …Preval v. Reno, 57 F. Supp. 2d 307 (1999)
amenability noun
amenably adverb

Did you know?

Nowadays, amenable is often used to describe someone who is favorably disposed to something, but it ultimately comes from Latin minari, meaning “to threaten.” Since the 16th century, English speakers have been using it in courtrooms and law with the meaning “answerable,” as in “citizens amenable to the law.” It later developed the meanings “suited” (“a simple function ... which is perfectly amenable to pencil-and-paper arithmetic”—Nature, April 1973) and “responsive” (as in “illnesses that are amenable to drug therapy”). It also came to be used of people with a general disposition to be agreeable—like Mr. Dick in Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield, who was “the most friendly and amenable creature in existence.”

Choose the Right Synonym for amenable

responsible, answerable, accountable, amenable, liable mean subject to being held to account.

responsible implies holding a specific office, duty, or trust.

the bureau responsible for revenue collection

answerable suggests a relation between one having a moral or legal obligation and a court or other authority charged with oversight of its observance.

an intelligence agency answerable to Congress

accountable suggests imminence of retribution for unfulfilled trust or violated obligation.

elected officials are accountable to the voters

amenable and liable stress the fact of subjection to review, censure, or control by a designated authority under certain conditions.

laws are amenable to judicial review
not liable for the debts of the former spouse

obedient, docile, tractable, amenable mean submissive to the will of another.

obedient implies compliance with the demands or requests of one in authority.

obedient to the government

docile implies a predisposition to submit readily to control or guidance.

a docile child

tractable suggests having a character that permits easy handling or managing.

tractable animals

amenable suggests a willingness to yield or cooperate because of a desire to be agreeable or because of a natural open-mindedness.

amenable to new ideas

Examples of amenable in a Sentence

While no one yet knows how wide … margins can go, contracts establish royalty rates and project them far into the future. Many agents have thus pushed for a term of license of just a few years. Publishers, however, are not always amenable. Steven M. Zeitchik, Publishers Weekly, 14 June 1999
Some of the newer findings address a vexing flaw in the sole noninvasive screening test for detecting microscopic prostate cancer, the form most amenable to a cure. Marc B. Garnick et al., Scientific American, December 1998
whatever you decide to do, I'm amenable—just let me know our normally balky cat becomes the most amenable of creatures when confronted with the strange environment of the veterinary clinic
Recent Examples on the Web Some within Buckingham Palace also are not amenable to the idea of Harry’s return to royal duties, according to The Times. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, 18 Feb. 2024 Meetings with administration officials plus whichever congressional Republican lawmakers are amenable. Souad Mekhennet, Washington Post, 16 Feb. 2024 An ocean within Mimas would also reinforce the revolutionary idea that a world can be amenable to biology without basking in the sun’s warmth. Robin George Andrews, Scientific American, 7 Feb. 2024 Tristan is amenable to the experiment, but the procedure represents something more grave and pressing for Leyla, who seems distant and out of sorts. J. Kim Murphy, Variety, 3 Feb. 2024 And any hope that negotiations right now could benefit Ukraine is naive: Russia is not becoming more malleable or more amenable to compromise. Liana Fix, Foreign Affairs, 28 Nov. 2023 Advertisement Clark, who’d been resistant to throwing live events, became amenable to arranging LP&S with a group outside of his work in culture and entertainment. Jaelani Turner-Williams, Los Angeles Times, 6 Sep. 2023 In its slew of lawsuits, YIMBY Law and the California Housing Defense Fund focused on cities that haven’t always been amenable to building the kind of high-density housing that many housing advocates champion. Grace Hase, The Mercury News, 17 Jan. 2024 To make the bill more amenable to the state senate and ensure sufficient votes for an override, it was amended to include a grandfather clause for those currently receiving treatment, and to stipulate that only one parent had to consent to counseling related to gender treatment instead of both. Adam Mathews, National Review, 5 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'amenable.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Anglo-French, from amener "to bring, bring to a court (as witnesses, pledges), summon, take, lead" (also continental Old French) (from a- —going back to Latin ad- ad-— + mener "to lead, bring") + able -able — more at demean entry 2

First Known Use

circa 1599, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of amenable was circa 1599


Dictionary Entries Near amenable

Cite this Entry

“Amenable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


ame·​na·​ble ə-ˈmē-nə-bəl How to pronounce amenable (audio) -ˈmen-ə- How to pronounce amenable (audio)
: readily giving in or agreeing
amenable to our wishes
amenability noun
ə-ˈmē-nə-blē How to pronounce amenable (audio)

Legal Definition


ame·​na·​ble ə-ˈmē-nə-bəl, -ˈme- How to pronounce amenable (audio)
: legally subject or answerable
the corporation is not amenable to suit in New York
: suited by nature
an adult is not amenable to a juvenile treatment program
: readily yielding, submitting, or cooperating
defendant is amenable to rehabilitationNational Law Journal

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