po·​ta·​ble | \ˈpō-tə-bəl \

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 \ noun
potableness \ ˈpō-​tə-​bəl-​nəs \ 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

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 Local supplies Green groups have long extolled the virtues of recycling sewage into potable drinking water. Joshua Emerson Smith, sandiegouniontribune.com, "San Diego's efforts to divest from rival L.A. water agency have driven up rates for residents. Is it worth it?," 1 July 2018 There is not a single Indian city that can provide potable water from its taps. Kamakshi Ayyar, Time, "The Global Water Crisis: Why Are India’s Taps Running Dry?," 6 June 2018 The records showed children also complained of being deprived of edible food and potable water. CBS News, "ACLU report: Records claim border agents neglected, abused migrant kids," 25 May 2018 All three have running, potable water, electricity, and heat. Sunset, "10 Best Camping Cabins," 22 Jan. 2018 Unemployment is around 60 percent, electricity sporadic, and 90 percent of the drinking water is not potable. Trudy Rubin, Philly.com, "U.S. Embassy moved to Jerusalem, Gaza exploded. Does Trump or Bibi have a Plan B? | Trudy Rubin," 15 May 2018 Like, say, if the rain is poisonous, wouldn't there be a lack of potable water? Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "Would Simone & Rasmus Have Survived Their Five-Year Bunker Stay In The Rain?," 7 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 One potable water plant is down but water is still safe to drink, Nelson said. Krista Torralva, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Hurricane Irma has Osceola, Polk surveying flood waters, beginning cleanup," 11 Sep. 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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Dictionary Entries near potable


posy pea






Statistics for potable

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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

: safe to drink


po·​ta·​ble | \ˈpōt-ə-bəl \

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).


by force of circumstances

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