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

Definition of unable

: not able : incapable: such as

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 An arriving officer was unable to find either Mustang. John Benson, cleveland, 17 May 2022 However, crews were unable to find Tomlinson or her car. CBS News, 9 May 2022 Law enforcement officials, however, were unable to find DaShawn and said there was no indication that any other child other than the girlfriend’s two children were living at the home the father and girlfriend shared. Mark Thiessen, Anchorage Daily News, 6 May 2022 Claire is arrested for murder, but due to growing tensions, her captors are unable to find a judge to preside over the trial. Washington Post, 30 Apr. 2022 An engineering graduate, Abhishek, is unable to find a job of his caliber. Naman Ramachandran, Variety, 28 Apr. 2022 The owner let the dog out into the street after being unable to find someone to take care of the pet before being sent to a quarantine facility, according to state media reports. New York Times, 26 Apr. 2022 After that, contact was lost and searchers have been unable to find a trace of the boat or its 24 passengers and two crew, Kyodo said. Peter Landers, WSJ, 23 Apr. 2022 Before officers arrived at the home, Hermantown police attempted to do a welfare check on Cole-Skogstad but were unable to find him, Tusken said. NBC News, 21 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of unable

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About unable

Time Traveler for unable

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near unable



Una boat

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for unable

Last Updated

20 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Unable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unable. Accessed 29 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for unable


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

Kids Definition of unable

: not able I am unable to attend.

More from Merriam-Webster on unable

Nglish: Translation of unable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of unable for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!