ca·​pa·​ble ˈkā-pə-bəl How to pronounce capable (audio)
 in rapid speech  ˈkāp-bəl
: susceptible
a remark capable of being misunderstood
obsolete : comprehensive
: having attributes (such as physical or mental power) required for performance or accomplishment
is capable of intense concentration
: having traits conducive to or features permitting something
this woman is capable of murder by violenceRobert Graves
: having legal right to own, enjoy, or perform
of my land … to make thee capableShakespeare
: having or showing general efficiency and ability
a capable lawyer
a capable performance
capableness noun
capably adverb

Examples of capable in a Sentence

a capable and efficient editor
Recent Examples on the Web Analysts have no doubt that traditional studios are still capable of making great movies. Don Lee, Los Angeles Times, 10 June 2024 Armand is also capable of that, capable of re-remembering things in his own way, depending on his emotions. Sydney Bucksbaum,, 10 June 2024 Russo pointed out that many of the workforce skills the semiconductor industry desperately needs right now don’t require a PhD, or even a college degree at all—just specialized technical education that many candidates with a high school education and the right training are capable of mastering. Eva Roytburg, Fortune, 9 June 2024 Smith has always been capable of bringing a worldwide audience to the big screen. Stephanie Zacharek, TIME, 7 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for capable 

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

Word History


Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French capable, from Late Latin capabilis, irregular from Latin capere to take — more at heave entry 1

First Known Use

1579, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of capable was in 1579

Dictionary Entries Near capable

Cite this Entry

“Capable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


ca·​pa·​ble ˈkā-pə-bəl How to pronounce capable (audio)
: having the qualities (as physical or mental power) to do or accomplish something
you are capable of better work
: having qualities or features permitting
a new train capable of very high speeds
: able to do one's job well : generally efficient
tries to hire capable people
capably adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on capable

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