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

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Other Words from opposable

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

Examples of opposable in a Sentence

Humans have an opposable thumb.

Recent Examples on the Web

Spring in our step Primate feet evolved mostly to grasp while climbing, which is why chimpanzees have more flexible feet than humans and why their big toes are opposable, like our thumbs. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "The road to bipedalism wasn’t straight and narrow," 15 Aug. 2018 Unless her dog suddenly sprouted legs and opposable thumbs, then this entire sequence is fishier than, well, sushi. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "10 Things About the Sex and the City Movie That Are Ridiculous—Even By SATC Standards," 30 May 2018 With their opposable toes and flat feet, early human ancestors have often been portrayed as weird walkers, swaying from side to side or rolling off the outside edges of their feet. Ann Gibbons, Science | AAAS, "Our tree-climbing human ancestors could walk upright like us, study of chimps and other primates shows," 2 Apr. 2018 But what makes Paddles truly special are her opposable thumbs. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "New Zealand’s ‘First Cat’ Has Opposable Thumbs and a Fan Base," 26 Oct. 2017 Its opposable thumb allows it to wield tools, flash symbols and now, type out texts. Amanda Hess, New York Times, "The Hand Has Its Social Media Moment," 11 Oct. 2017 Yeah, let’s blow it up and give it opposable thumbs and boxing gloves. Joan Niesen, SI.com, "The Top 10 Mascots in College Football, Ranked by Someone Terrified of Mascots," 3 Aug. 2017 Other examples of convergence include the rise of flight among birds, bats, insects, and pterodactyls, and the evolution of opposable thumbs in primates, pandas, and opossums. Eoin O'carroll, The Christian Science Monitor, "Scientists say ravens display foresight, a trait thought unique to apes," 14 July 2017 Obviously the Angels will be a lot less opposable without Trout’s thumb. Mark Whicker, Orange County Register, "Whicker: A bad thumb won’t stop Mike Trout’s drive," 3 June 2017

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.

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First Known Use of opposable

circa 1812, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for opposable

oppose + -able

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Time Traveler for opposable

The first known use of opposable was circa 1812

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English Language Learners Definition of opposable

technical : 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 opposability (audio) \ noun, plural -ties

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with opposable

Comments on opposable

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likely to have or produce good results

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