ca·pa·ble | \ˈkā-pə-bəl, in rapid speech ˈkāp-bəl\

Definition of capable 

1 : susceptible a remark capable of being misunderstood

2 obsolete : comprehensive

3 : having attributes (such as physical or mental power) required for performance or accomplishment is capable of intense concentration

4 : having traits conducive to or features permitting something this woman is capable of murder by violence— Robert Graves

5 : having legal right to own, enjoy, or perform of my land … to make thee capable— Shakespeare

6 : having or showing general efficiency and ability a capable lawyer a capable performance

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Other Words from capable

capableness \ˈkā-pə-bəl-nəs \ noun
capably \-pə-blē \ adverb

Examples of capable in a Sentence

a capable and efficient editor

Recent Examples on the Web

Earlier this year, a team at the University of Lincoln successfully synthesized a new class of antibiotic capable of dealing with some of the superbugs that are beginning to develop around the world. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "New “Immunobiotic” Could Treat Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs," 6 July 2018 Your digital life is at once permanent, etched in ones and zeros, and perilously insecure, capable of being leaked in the next devastating hack. Jacob Silverman, Longreads, "Private Telegram, Public Strife," 3 July 2018 They and many of the supporting characters are complex and compelling - neither all good nor all bad, capable of both cruelty and kindness, vengeance and remorse. Steve Israel,, "What's the greatest book about politics? Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich and others weigh in.," 12 July 2018 The result was a grid array of sensors spread across a cubic kilometer of glacier and capable of catching a ghost. Author: Sarah Kaplan, Anchorage Daily News, "In a cosmic first, scientists detect ‘ghost particles’ from a distant galaxy," 12 July 2018 Its heroines were a group of smart, loyal, capable women forced to prop up a crude, incompetent male boss who refused to acknowledge their contributions. Sam Walker, WSJ, "Now on Broadway: SpongeBob ChauvinistPants," 11 July 2018 Danny Welbeck, Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are currently the only players capable of playing on the wing on the Arsenal books, but none of whom possess the same skills that Martins would offer., "Reporter Claims Arsenal are 'Close' to Signing Liverpool Target After Contract Controversy," 27 June 2018 Boosting military budgets is aimed at making NATO a more capable and battle-ready force to help prevent aggressive acts by Russia and other rivals. Robert Wall, WSJ, "Trump Unsettles NATO Allies With Demands as He Backs Alliance," 12 July 2018 Even if Republicans avoid a crisis forced by public opinion or the courts, their own president is perfectly capable of generating one all by himself, and has already threatened to do so. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Why the GOP Might Face More Humiliation on Immigration," 2 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'capable.' 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 capable

1579, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for capable

Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French capable, from Late Latin capabilis, irregular from Latin capere to take — more at heave

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Dictionary Entries near capable





capable de tout



Statistics for capable

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for capable

The first known use of capable was in 1579

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English Language Learners Definition of capable

: able to do something : having the qualities or abilities that are needed to do something

: skilled at doing something : able to do something well


ca·pa·ble | \ˈkā-pə-bəl \

Kids Definition of capable

1 : having the qualities or abilities that are needed to do or accomplish something You are capable of better work.

2 : able to do something well a capable actress

Other Words from capable

capably \-blē \ adverb

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Comments on capable

What made you want to look up capable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


lying above or upon

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