op·​pos·​able | \ ə-ˈpō-zə-bəl How to pronounce opposable (audio) \

Definition of opposable

1 : capable of being opposed or resisted
2 : capable of being placed against one or more of the remaining digits of a hand or foot the opposable human thumb

Other Words from opposable

opposability \ ə-​ˌpō-​zə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce opposable (audio) \ noun

Examples of opposable in a Sentence

Humans have an opposable thumb.
Recent Examples on the Web The resident at the (OFSDS) in Mount Juliet, Tenn., has arthritis, a heart ailment and no opposable thumbs, a consequence of her age and species. Washington Post, 29 Oct. 2021 Being one inch tall also alters the difficulty of almost any in-game challenge (compounded if characters lack opposable thumbs). Pearse Anderson, Wired, 9 Sep. 2021 The creator of the post, Mike Roman, claims the bear activated the ski-lift and boarded a chair on its own — a remarkable feat for an animal without opposable thumbs. Bayliss Wagner, USA TODAY, 28 June 2021 All pets really need is your care and the occasional use of your opposable thumbs. Alessandra Codinha, Vogue, 6 May 2021 For example, Padian tells Gizmodo that otters and raccoons have opposable thumbs but aren’t arboreal. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, 17 Apr. 2021 Our language is uninterested in the verdicts of the old man’s thumbs (opposable, yet—for the moment, at least—unopposed). Salman Rushdie, The New Yorker, 16 Nov. 2020 Raccoons have five digits on their paws but actually lack opposable thumbs. René A. Guzman, ExpressNews.com, 25 Aug. 2020 Pictures in some form have been around almost as long as opposable thumbs. John Pearley Huffman, Car and Driver, 6 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'opposable.' 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 opposable

circa 1812, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for opposable

oppose + -able

Learn More About opposable

Time Traveler for opposable

Time Traveler

The first known use of opposable was circa 1812

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near opposable




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for opposable

Last Updated

12 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Opposable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opposable. Accessed 4 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for opposable



English Language Learners Definition of opposable

: able to be placed against one or more of the other fingers or toes on the same hand or foot


op·​pos·​able | \ ə-ˈpō-zə-bəl How to pronounce opposable (audio) \

Medical Definition of opposable

: capable of being placed against one or more of the remaining digits of a hand or foot an opposable thumb

Other Words from opposable

opposability \ -​ˌpō-​zə-​ˈbil-​ət-​ē How to pronounce opposable (audio) \ noun, plural opposabilities


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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