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 And while Kraft still wields enormous influence, the league dynamics may have changed to a point where others might be capable of stepping into the void. Globe Staff,, "With NFL labor strife possible, will Patriots owner Robert Kraft have to save football again?," 21 Feb. 2020 Latimore believes Eliassen is capable of topping the bar at 5 feet, 6 inches by time April rolls around. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Bush scores 16 points at Brown Relays to lead Deer Park contingent," 20 Feb. 2020 The company promises that the new engine will be capable of producing 840 horsepower for 30 hours straight. Sebastian Blanco, Car and Driver, "Glickenhaus Gets Closer to Sending Its 007 Hypercar to Le Mans," 13 Feb. 2020 None of those partners, however, have the kind of commercial facilities that major pharmaceutical makers have and that would be capable of making the product in bulk. Nicholas Florko, STAT, "Major drug makers haven’t stepped up to manufacture coronavirus vaccine, top U.S. health official says," 11 Feb. 2020 Just as thriving businesses at their best invigorate and enrich, so government at its worst can be capable of heartless cruelty and indifference. The Economist, "America’s presidential election The Democratic primaries will be a contest between radicals and repairers," 6 Feb. 2020 In our increasingly predictable partisan world, this was as close to a surprise as Washington is still capable of. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, "The Wrenching Truth About Mitt Romney’s Vote Is That It Doesn’t Matter," 6 Feb. 2020 Whether Tyree is capable of handling a featured workload and withstanding a beating without suffering injuries remains the biggest question. Carter Karels, Indianapolis Star, "Ranking the 17 members of Notre Dame football's 2020 recruiting class," 6 Feb. 2020 Newsletter Sign-up Bats in particular are capable of harboring dangerous viruses because their bodies can weaken their own immune systems to save the energy needed for flight. Katie Camero, WSJ, "Scientists Link China Coronavirus to Intersection of Humans and Wildlife," 6 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

26 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Capable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 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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