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 Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Scott Suskauer has ruled that Ford is no longer capable of making decisions about her own life or controlling her hundreds of millions in holdings. Jane Musgrave, USA TODAY, "Daughters claim ailing widow of Henry Ford II is being abused by longtime companion," 12 Jan. 2020 The British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled that the child, who had begun hormone treatment after a January 2019 lower court ruling, was capable of understanding the treatment, its risks, its consequences, and granting consent. Tim Pearce, Washington Examiner, "Canadian court rules child can start hormone therapy without parental consent," 10 Jan. 2020 Researchers believe this shows that chemical computers are capable of much more complex things. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Made the World's First Chemical Turing Machine," 9 Jan. 2020 Smart also put him in position to attack from the high post, something the springy forward is capable of but has only occasionally pursued. Nick Moyle,, "To stay afloat in Big 12, Texas needs Jericho Sims to stay aggressive," 7 Jan. 2020 Both Bell and Hyundai say their craft will be capable of flying 180 mph for up to 60 miles between charges. Eric Adams, Wired, "Bell and Hyundai Soar into the Air Taxi Race," 7 Jan. 2020 Calculators are capable of only procedural tasks, not creativity. Niral Shah, The Conversation, "Asians are good at math? Why dressing up racism as a compliment just doesn’t add up," 6 Jan. 2020 But now the TVs are capable of active listening—a boon for those who want convenience, a concern for those who prioritize privacy. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "LG and Samsung TVs at CES: Bezel-free, smaller OLEDs, and more," 6 Jan. 2020 Were the Colts capable of winning without Luck running the show? Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Ballard: Colts weren’t good enough to win without Andrew Luck. ‘That’s on me’," 2 Jan. 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

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Capable.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for capable


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

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).


a plan in which a last survivor takes all

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