capable

adjective
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

Keep scrolling for more

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 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 According to Roscosmos's definition, a super-heavy rocket is capable of delivering at least 35 tons of cargo into Earth’s orbit. Anatoly Zak, Popular Mechanics, "Everything You Need To Know About Russia’s (Possibly Fictional) Super Heavy Rocket," 3 Feb. 2020 This, of course, presumes the average person is capable of empathy. Bryan Box, The New Republic, "The Lies We Tell About Soldiers’ Traumatic Brain Injuries," 30 Jan. 2020 Her exiled Timon is capable of defiant sarcasm, mischievous wit, moments of philosophically amused resignation, and even the suggestion that the life of a hermit has its quiet, self-sufficient satisfactions. Geoffrey O’brien, The New York Review of Books, "A Timon for Our Time," 29 Jan. 2020 Yet California may not be capable of providing such wraparound services to all who need them. Emily Underwood, Science | AAAS, "California has begun screening for early childhood trauma, but critics urge caution," 29 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about capable

Time Traveler for capable

Time Traveler

The first known use of capable was in 1579

See more words from the same year

Statistics for capable

Last Updated

12 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Capable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/capably?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=c&file=capabl03. Accessed 22 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for capable

capable

adjective
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

capable

adjective
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

Keep scrolling for more

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!