po·​ta·​ble | \ ˈpō-tə-bəl How to pronounce potable (audio) , military often ˈpä-\

Definition of potable

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: suitable for drinking



Definition of potable (Entry 2 of 2)

: a liquid that is suitable for drinking especially : an alcoholic beverage

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Other Words from potable


potability \ ˌpō-​tə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce potability (audio) \ noun
potableness \ ˈpō-​tə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce potableness (audio) , military often  ˈpä-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for potable

Synonyms: Adjective


Synonyms: Noun

alcohol, aqua vitae, ardent spirits, booze, bottle, drink, firewater, grog, hooch [slang], inebriant, intoxicant, John Barleycorn, juice [slang], liquor, lush [slang], moonshine, rum, sauce [slang], spirits, stimulant, strong drink, tipple

Antonyms: Adjective


Antonyms: Noun


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Examples of potable in a Sentence


around here, the only potable water comes from wells


hid the potables in the back hall closet keeps the wet bar stocked with an array of top-shelf liquors, mixers, and other fine potables
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Such missions could support China’s plans for a research station near the lunar south pole to study resources such as water ice, which can be used to manufacture rocket fuel, potable water and breathable air. The Editors, Scientific American, "The U.S. Should Go Back to the Moon--But Not on Its Own," 3 July 2019 The most recent holdup involves completion of the potable water plant. Lois K. Solomon, sun-sentinel.com, "Shooting sports park, one of largest in Florida, to open by end of year," 3 June 2019 Each campsite has 20-, 30-, and 50-amp electric service, potable water connections, RV sewer hookup, picnic table, fire ring and grill. Amy Aumick, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Explore Florida's Santa Rosa County: Home to famous blackwater," 7 May 2018 The printer used for the home, the Vulcan, is designed with common constraints in mind for places such as Haiti and rural El Salvador—unpredictable power, little technical assistance, and potable water not guaranteed. Maya Mcdowell, House Beautiful, "This Tiny House Was 3D-Printed in Less Than 48 Hours," 20 Mar. 2019 Utah’s water-delivery systems are largely gravity-fed, thus keeping costs down, and most homeowners have access to unmetered non-potable water for landscaping and irrigation. Jake Bullinger, WIRED, "America's Fastest-Growing Urban Area Has a Water Problem," 22 May 2018 Despite loss of power, limited cabin heat and a shortage of potable water, the crew converted a potentially catastrophic loss into a victory of will and grace under pressure. Carie Lemack, Space.com, "Apollo 13's Importance: How Failure Can Lead to Great Success," 31 May 2018 Its water system is able to capture rainwater and generate potable water from the humidity lingering in the air. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Tiny house from UN Environment and Yale raises the bar for eco-living," 11 July 2018 There is a bathroom, RV dump station, grills (no campfires allowed) and potable water. Scott Craven, azcentral, "Lees Ferry: Gateway to Grand Canyon rafting and the Colorado River," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The chemical compound is used to kill bacteria to make water potable, but it must be mixed with the water being treated at a certain level to be effective. City News Service, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Water authority announces citation against Twin Oaks Valley water treatment plant," 8 July 2019 But the pub’s most noteworthy offering, perhaps, isn’t potable. Emma Silvers, San Francisco Chronicle, "The story of the Albany pub where time stands still," 16 May 2018 Another specialty of the house is on the potable, not edible, side. Bruce Ingram, chicagotribune.com, "Guide to outdoor dining in Chicago suburbs: The Harp and Fiddle in Park Ridge," 5 July 2018 The Hemlock Negroni—who knew hemlock was potable?—makes for a good nightcap. Elizabeth Dunn, WSJ, "A Stress-Free Summer Weekend in the Catskills," 15 June 2018 Residents and the hospitality industry have gotten creative, using water from ice buckets and other non-potable sources to mop floors and adding aerators to water taps to limit water flow by literally adding air to the stream. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Cape Town Has Avoided 'Day Zero,' But Water Conservation Is Still in Effect," 15 Mar. 2018 Their non-potable classification is why bitters may be sold in stores that don't sell hard liquor. chicagotribune.com, "Bitters are essential to a good cocktail, but which ones should you buy?," 7 Feb. 2018 Puerto Rico reports 96 percent of the island has water, but there are questions about how much of it is potable. Suzanne Gamboa, NBC News, "San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz blasts FEMA decision to end food, water aid to Puerto Rico," 30 Jan. 2018 Some parks have primitive campsites for backpackers with no amenities, although some offer potable water. Bob Rountree, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Exploring Florida’s Panhandle, campground by campground," 13 Dec. 2017

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


15th century, in the meaning defined above


circa 1625, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for potable


Middle English, from Late Latin potabilis, from Latin potare to drink; akin to Latin bibere to drink, Greek pinein

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Learn More about potable

Dictionary Entries near potable


posy pea






Statistics for potable

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for potable

The first known use of potable was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for potable



English Language Learners Definition of potable

technical : safe to drink


po·​ta·​ble | \ ˈpōt-ə-bəl How to pronounce potable (audio) \

Medical Definition of potable

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: suitable for drinking potable water



Medical Definition of potable (Entry 2 of 2)

: a liquid that is suitable for drinking especially : an alcoholic beverage

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More from Merriam-Webster on potable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for potable

Spanish Central: Translation of potable

Nglish: Translation of potable for Spanish Speakers

Comments on potable

What made you want to look up potable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something desired as essential

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