ar·​a·​ble | \ ˈa-rə-bəl How to pronounce arable (audio) , ˈer-ə- \

Definition of arable

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : fit for or used for the growing of crops arable land
2 British : engaged in, produced by, or being the cultivation of arable land arable farming arable farmers



Definition of arable (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Other Words from arable


arability \ ˌa-​rə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce arable (audio) , ˌer-​ə-​ \ noun

Examples of arable in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective A few years ago, China bought nearly one-tenth of Ukraine’s arable farmland. Elisabeth Braw, WSJ, 29 June 2022 Now humanity finds itself on a collision course with a fresh set of limitations: the agricultural sector has consumed half of the earth’s arable land while destabilizing the climate whose relative stability had made agriculture possible. Jeff Mcmahon, Forbes, 30 June 2022 When the wetlands dried up, the land became arable. Susie Cagle, Wired, 12 Apr. 2022 Nepal’s agriculture ministry estimated that about 30 percent of arable land, mainly in hilly areas, was no longer being used. New York Times, 14 June 2022 Only 7 percent of arable land in Cuba is irrigated. Washington Post, 21 May 2022 Many tribes found themselves on reservations that lacked sufficient arable land, water or other resources., 20 May 2022 Many tribes found themselves on reservations that lacked sufficient arable land, water or other resources. USA Today, 20 May 2022 One of its purposes was to facilitate the conversion of Florida’s Everglades into arable land, but its provisions also applied to several other states, California among them. David Owen, The New Yorker, 11 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of arable


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1576, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for arable

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

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

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Last Updated

30 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Arable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for arable


ar·​a·​ble | \ ˈer-ə-bəl How to pronounce arable (audio) \

Kids Definition of arable

: fit for or cultivated by plowing : suitable for producing crops arable land


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