sa·​ble | \ ˈsā-bəl How to pronounce sable (audio) \
plural sables

Definition of sable

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the color black
b : black clothing worn in mourning usually used in plural

2a or plural sable

(1) : a carnivorous mammal (Martes zibellina) of the weasel family that occurs chiefly in northern Asia
(2) : any of various animals related to the sable
b : the fur or pelt of a sable
3 : the usually dark brown color of the fur of the sable



Definition of sable (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of the color black
2 : dark, gloomy

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Synonyms & Antonyms for sable

Synonyms: Adjective

black, ebony, pitch-black, pitch-dark, pitchy, raven

Antonyms: Adjective


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Examples of sable in a Sentence


a brush made of sable

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In Angola, the national team is nicknamed Palancas Negras after giant sable antelopes, the country’s national symbol, famed for its long, curved horns. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "The most underused tools in fighting wildlife poaching in Africa are its beloved national soccer teams," 19 July 2019 They are made of mink, faux mink, sable, silk, cashmere, or synthetic fibers. Beth Teitell,, "When it comes to eyelash extensions, the demand is unreal," 3 July 2019 At the time, there were fewer than 44 sable antelope and perhaps a thousand buffalo on one million acres. Paul Steyn, National Geographic, "How the world’s largest lion relocation was pulled off," 2 May 2019 Dessert was strawberry sable with lemon verbena cream followed by a selection of assorted fresh fruits, then coffee and petit fours. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth Hosts a Lavish State Banquet for President Trump at Buckingham Palace," 3 June 2019 Dessert was a decadent strawberry sable with lemon verbena cream. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Royal Family Shares Rare Look at What Goes into Hosting a State Banquet at Buckingham Palace," 5 June 2019 Back then, Joseph Breitman, Mendel's great-great-grandfather, wrapped Russian aristocrats in sable. Kristina Stewart Ward, ELLE Decor, "Gilles Mendel's Fashion-Forward Home," 5 Jan. 2010 Anti-poaching efforts have helped populations of sable, hippo, elephant and other species to begin recovering. Washington Post, "African wild dogs make comeback at Mozambican wildlife park," 22 June 2018 Rangy by nature, Jake was a tri-color sable with a bushy dark brown tail tipped in white, matching the natural white ring of white fur around his neck. Lauren Ritchie,, "Callous driver hits beloved dog, leaves him like trash by the roadside," 1 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Even the animal park needed replenishing, as soldiers had eaten most of the country’s prized giant sable antelope. USA Today, "Were Wanda Tucker’s ancestors America’s first slaves? A difficult search for answers in far-away Angola," 22 Aug. 2019 Riders sit atop a sable leather seat that matches the brown leather handlebar grips, echoing the luxe carseats and steering wheels of yesteryear. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Classy e-bike is designed like a luxe vintage car," 14 Aug. 2019 But still others cling defiantly to their mink trench, their sable shrug, their fox poncho—arguing that fur is warm and gorgeous, and among the most sustainable materials on Earth. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "7 Designers on the Future of Fur in Fashion," 14 Aug. 2019 The figurines Ezie photographed at Prada also have cartoonishly large lips and sable black complexions. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Prada pulled a collection of figurines that drew comparisons to anti-black caricatures," 14 Dec. 2018

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sable


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Middle Low German sabel sable or its fur, from Middle High German zobel, of Slav origin; akin to Russian sobol' sable or its fur

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Statistics for sable

Last Updated

5 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sable

The first known use of sable was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for sable



English Language Learners Definition of sable

: a small animal that lives in northern Asia and has soft, brown fur
: the fur of the sable


sa·​ble | \ ˈsā-bəl How to pronounce sable (audio) \

Kids Definition of sable

1 : the color black
2 : a meat-eating animal of northern Europe and Asia that is related to the weasel and has soft brown fur

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More from Merriam-Webster on sable

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sable

Spanish Central: Translation of sable

Nglish: Translation of sable for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about sable

Comments on sable

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


miscellaneous remnants or debris

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