ca·​pa·​ble | \ ˈkā-pə-bəl How to pronounce capable (audio) , 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 How to pronounce capableness (audio) \ noun
capably \ ˈkā-​pə-​blē How to pronounce capably (audio) \ adverb

Examples of capable in a Sentence

a capable and efficient editor
Recent Examples on the Web Skil’s long experience with the circular saw comes to the fore with this inexpensive-but-capable tool, the best in our recent test of homeowner-grade machines. Roy Berendson, Popular Mechanics, "The Popular Mechanics 2020 Tool Awards," 18 Mar. 2020 On the debit side, there is mounting evidence that people who are symptom-free but infected may be capable of transmitting the virus. Mark Honigsbaum, The New York Review of Books, "‘A Once-in-a-Century Pathogen’: The 1918 Pandemic & This One," 17 Mar. 2020 Those who read the lyrics were significantly more likely to believe the man was capable of committing a murder than those who did not. Erik Nielson, The Conversation, "Prosecutors are increasingly – and misleadingly – using rap lyrics as evidence in court," 17 Mar. 2020 The Perseverance rover, which will sport 20-megapixel color zoom-capable cameras, is set to launch in July. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Our eyes on Mars: How Curiosity sees the Red Planet," 16 Mar. 2020 DePaul's capable of putting together 40 minutes of winning basketball behind a big, athletic starting lineup. Adam Baum,, "'It's on': Xavier basketball needs to respond Tuesday in a key Big East matchup vs. DePaul," 24 Feb. 2020 Only 19% of video consumption on TV sets in streaming-capable US homes is through a subscription streaming service, the report said. Adam Epstein, Quartz, "Streaming still has a long way to go before it catches regular old TV," 13 Feb. 2020 Still, the rollout of 5G in the U.S. has been a slow one, and available 5G-capable devices are still few and far between. Patrick Lucas Austin, Time, "Samsung's New Flagship Galaxy S20 Smartphones Have 5G and Intense Cameras," 11 Feb. 2020 Certainly, capable of competing and beating either team. Alvaro Montano, Houston Chronicle, "Girls basketball: Rosehill Christian gears up for another state tournament run," 8 Feb. 2020

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 entry 1

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Time Traveler for capable

Time Traveler

The first known use of capable was in 1579

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Statistics for capable

Last Updated

25 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Capable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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How to pronounce capable (audio)

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 How to pronounce capable (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on capable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for capable

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with capable

Spanish Central: Translation of capable

Nglish: Translation of capable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of capable for Arabic Speakers

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