un·​able | \ ˌən-ˈā-bəl How to pronounce unable (audio) \

Definition of unable

: not able : incapable: such as

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Examples of unable in a Sentence

I was unable to afford the trip. He was unable to play tennis after the injury.

Recent Examples on the Web

But there are also thousands of women who are unable to travel. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Georgia's Six-Week Abortion Ban Claims to "Value Life"," 4 Apr. 2019 Some suppliers also handle burning the palms into ashes if the church is unable to do so. Marie Milano, Country Living, "When Is Palm Sunday, and Why Does the Date Always Change?," 8 Mar. 2019 Originally, the implication was that a company that was not a member of the USB-PG would be unable to adopt the Thunderbolt specification or USB4. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "The new USB4 spec promises a lot: Thunderbolt 3 support, 40Gbps bandwidth, and less confusion," 5 Mar. 2019 Haley was adopted back in February 2017 after Hoda was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, and her treatment left her unable to conceive. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'Today' Show Star Hoda Kotb Revealed So Much to Wendy Williams About Her Boyfriend Joel," 15 Mar. 2019 Those unable to catch the production can soon enjoy the titular Fleabag and all her bawdy antics when the show’s second season premieres on May 17. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "Anna Wintour Welcomes Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Fleabag to New York With an Intimate Dinner," 13 Mar. 2019 Many women who don’t want children can rattle off a list of things people have accused them of being: selfish, immoral, cold, greedy, unable to experience real love—just to name a few. Therese Shechter, SELF, "Menopause Was the Best Thing to Ever Happen to Me," 13 Mar. 2019 The Patriots lost a game in Miami last month on a 69-yard touchdown in the final seconds, with Belichick replacing one of his best defenders on the game’s decisive play with Gronkowski, who was unable to make a game-saving tackle near the goal line. Jim Chairusmi, WSJ, "Patriots to Face the Rams in the Super Bowl," 21 Jan. 2019 But once again, he’s just loud set dressing, perpetually at odds with Queenie but unable to make a difference for her as anything but an excuse for action. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "Even for the Harry Potter hardcore, Crimes of Grindelwald is one convoluted movie," 8 Nov. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for unable

Last Updated

8 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for unable

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

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More Definitions for unable



English Language Learners Definition of unable

: not able to do something


un·​able | \ ˌən-ˈā-bəl How to pronounce unable (audio) \

Kids Definition of unable

: not able I am unable to attend.

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More from Merriam-Webster on unable

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unable

Spanish Central: Translation of unable

Nglish: Translation of unable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unable for Arabic Speakers

Comments on unable

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


an act or instance of returning to life

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