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 capable (audio) \ noun
capably \ ˈkā-​pə-​blē How to pronounce capable (audio) \ adverb

Examples of capable in a Sentence

a capable and efficient editor
Recent Examples on the Web The responsiveness of these machines was crucial not only to the fun but to the philosophy: if artificial devices were capable of responsiveness, Descartes reasoned, why mightn’t living beings be devices of the same kind, made of matter in motion? Jessica Riskin, The New York Review of Books, "When Engineers Were Humanists," 23 Feb. 2021 Each spring, Yosemite’s steep cliffs offer safe harbor to the world’s fastest animal, the peregrine falcon, which is capable of dive-bombing its prey at nearly 200 miles per hour when on the hunt. Shawnté Salabert, Outside Online, "The Ultimate Yosemite National Park Travel Guide," 22 Feb. 2021 Dupree would be suitable replacement for Vernon and is capable of similar sack production. cleveland, "If the Browns don’t sign J.J. Watt, Von Miller and other top rushers will be on their radar: Browns Insider," 21 Feb. 2021 Most aphids do not lay eggs in indoor conditions, and adult females are capable of giving birth to young without mating. Tim Johnson,, "Aphid infestation on your houseplants? Here’s how to get rid of the insects and their sticky residue," 20 Feb. 2021 The idea is to find epitopes that are both capable of eliciting a strong immune response and which are essential for the coronavirus’s reproduction. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "As mutant COVID variants multiply, the hunt is on for a ‘universal’ kill-all vaccine," 19 Feb. 2021 Mayfield is capable of playing at either tackle position. oregonlive, "NFL mock draft 2021: Oregon Ducks’ Penei Sewell selected No. 3 by the Miami Dolphins; five QBs taken in the first round and other predictions," 19 Feb. 2021 The study did not say what kind of device was capable of blanketing diplomats with microwave, or what countries possess that kind of previously unknown energy weapon. Patrick Oppmann, CNN, "Will US diplomats finally return to Havana, after a rash of mystery injuries?," 19 Feb. 2021 The rover is capable of gathering more than 30 separate samples, according to NASA. NBC News, "NASA's Mars rover successfully touches down on the red planet," 19 Feb. 2021

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 2021

Cite this Entry

“Capable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for capable



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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Comments on capable

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