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

Now, the East Japanese Railway Company (JR-East) is pushing the system even further with a bullet train known as Alfa-X, which is capable of traveling at top speeds of 224 mph (360 km/h). David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Japan's New Bullet Train Can Hit 224 MPH," 13 May 2019 The refining unit’s assets are concentrated at the Daesan petrochemical complex 81 miles southwest of Seoul and are capable of processing 650,000 barrels of oil a day. Costas Paris, WSJ, "South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Sells Oil Stake to Saudi Aramco for $1.2 Billion," 15 Apr. 2019 The president has cast himself as a seasoned statesman capable of standing up to Russian pressure and sought to denigrate his rival as a rookie who would become easy prey for the Kremlin. Geir Moulson, The Seattle Times, "France’s Macron meets Ukraine’s 2 presidential contenders," 12 Apr. 2019 An undersea landslide capable of causing a tsunami could have caused some shaking, Caplan-Auerbach says, but probably not enough to have been felt by people nearby. Mary Beth Griggs, The Verge, "Deadly Indonesian tsunami was not caused by an earthquake," 23 Dec. 2018 Artificial intelligence is the effort to create computers capable of intelligent behavior. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "The case for taking AI seriously as a threat to humanity," 21 Dec. 2018 Each pack—which retails for $7.99—comes with four small hooks, each one capable of supporting half a pound each. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "You'd Never Guess These Chic Rose Gold Hangers Are Command Hooks," 15 Oct. 2018 Things should begin to change this weekend as a cold front interacts with the hot and increasingly humid air mass over the area, triggering several rounds of showers and thunderstorms capable of producing downpours and strong winds. Tom Skilling,, "Storms to accompany weekend warmth and humidity," 13 July 2018 Celie eventually becomes someone capable of love but not dependent on it, willing to forgive without forgetting, able to take in the world’s beauty while still perceiving the ugliness. Lawrence Toppman, charlotteobserver, "A deeper ‘Purple’ than we’ve seen reaches Charlotte via Broadway Lights," 12 July 2018

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

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Dictionary Entries near capable





capable de tout



Statistics for capable

Last Updated

21 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for capable

The first known use of capable was in 1579

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on capable

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with capable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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 strong desire or propensity

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