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ar·​a·​ble ˈa-rə-bəl How to pronounce arable (audio)
: fit for or used for the growing of crops
arable land
British : engaged in, produced by, or being the cultivation of arable land
arable farming
arable farmers
arability noun


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chiefly British
: land fit or used for the growing of crops
also : a plot of such land
the village arable of Anglo-Saxon times

Examples of arable in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Farmers scuttle and dump that waste to wooden fence lines and eventually stack that stone into crude walls to maximize arable space, mark property boundaries and help with fencing. Robert Thorson, Smithsonian Magazine, 14 Nov. 2023 Sourcing Seeds On any arable farm, sourcing organic seeds will be one key part of the puzzle. Elizabeth Waddington, Treehugger, 6 June 2023 Given its vast arable land, Ukraine would be eligible for billions in payments. Beatriz Ríos, Washington Post, 15 Dec. 2023 Extreme weather often feeds conflict, as people fight over water, arable land and grazing, or join armed groups for survival or access to food, said Hameed Nuru, director of the World Food Program’s African Union office. Katharine Houreld, Washington Post, 2 Dec. 2023 Some 77 percent of the world's arable land is used for meat and milk production, even though animal products provide only about 18 percent of the world's calorie needs. Katharina Menne, Scientific American, 25 Oct. 2023 Ever since German colonialization, the arable land the Herero used to graze cattle has been privatized. Melanie Stetson Freeman, The Christian Science Monitor, 19 Sep. 2023 When coupled with global warming, which increases competition for agricultural resources such as water and arable land, hunger can generate political upheaval. Michael Kimmage and Hanna Notte, Foreign Affairs, 1 Sep. 2023 As urbanization advances, the finite resource of arable land is becoming more desirable as an investment. Jon Stojan, USA TODAY, 4 Aug. 2023
About 13% of the land is arable, with microclimates suited to nearly every crop. The Economist, 28 May 2020 Today, the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon run the estate, spanning 5,000 acres with 4,000 acres of arable farming. Rachel King, Fortune, 17 Aug. 2019 For centuries, Knepp Castle’s 3,500-acre estate was devoted to intensive arable and dairy farming. National Geographic, 16 June 2018 Traditionally, the arable farmer has fought against two enemies: weather and weeds. Bella Bathurst, Newsweek, 29 May 2014 With the advent of arable and animal agriculture, fishing alone, of the three ancient ways of obtaining food—the other two being hunting and plant foraging—has remained vital to human civilisation. The Economist, 14 Dec. 2017 The pigs are raised in arable bliss by doting artisanal farmers (a marketing narrative orchestrated to sell consumers on the Frankenswine). Emily Poenisch, Esquire, 29 June 2017 But local governments that have relied for years on land sales to fund growth can circumvent restrictions by counting marginal land as arable, or re-zoning urban areas as farms. Bloomberg News,, 19 May 2017 April is also high season for sandstorms, a result of desertification—the transformation of arable, hospitable land into desert. National Geographic, 21 Apr. 2017 See More

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

Word History


Adjective and Noun

Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin arabilis, from arare to plow; akin to Old English erian to plow, Greek aroun

First Known Use


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1576, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of arable was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near arable

Cite this Entry

“Arable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


: fit for or cultivated by plowing : suitable for producing crops
arable soil
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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