able

adjective
\ ˈā-bəl How to pronounce able (audio) \

Definition of able

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : having sufficient power, skill, or resources to do something able to solve a problem
b : having the freedom or opportunity to do something hopes to be able to visit soon
c : having a quality or nature that makes something possible a car able to hold five people : susceptible to some action or treatment a shoe able to be repaired
2 abler\ ˈā-​b(ə-​)lər How to pronounce able (audio) \;ablest\ ˈā-​b(ə-​)ləst How to pronounce able (audio) \ : marked by intelligence, knowledge, skill, or competence an able administrator
variants: or less commonly -ible

Definition of -able (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : capable of, fit for, or worthy of (being so acted upon or toward) chiefly in adjectives derived from verbs breakablecollectible
2 : tending, given, or liable to agreeable perishable

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Other Words from able

Adjective suffix

-ably or less commonly -ibly adverb suffix

Synonyms & Antonyms for able

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of able in a Sentence

Adjective He will buy a new car as soon as he is able. He turned out to be an able editor. She is one of the ablest lawyers in the firm.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The lawsuit did not name the doctor and a Freedom Foundation lawyer was not immediately able to provide that information. oregonlive, 11 Sep. 2021 Even the able-bodied athletes available to play this weekend have been struggling. Dan Schlossberg, Forbes, 10 Sep. 2021 Offensively, Stafford is undoubtedly an upgrade to Jared Goff, and a creative offensive mind like Sean McVay should be able to do a lot more with Stafford behind center. Adam Burke Vsin, Los Angeles Times, 10 Sep. 2021 Larger hospitals may be able to handle the loss, but Morgan said losing more than 150 employees would be a huge blow to a rural hospital. Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY, 10 Sep. 2021 The new federal vaccine requirement announced by President Joe Biden has created another worry for large businesses: With help wanted signs up almost everywhere, some could lose valuable employees or won’t be able to find new ones. Tom Krisher And Barbara Ortutay, Anchorage Daily News, 10 Sep. 2021 As The Washington Post reported, Prince George's County animal services officials have gotten four or five calls from residents who reported sightings of the zebras, but no one, including the owner, has been able to catch them. BostonGlobe.com, 10 Sep. 2021 Although Tom is now back to solely cohosting the Today show, fans will soon be able to watch more of his coverage. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, 10 Sep. 2021 And 53% said local governments, school districts and charter schools should be able to determine their own rules regarding mask requirements; 42.8% disagreed. Yana Kunichoff, The Arizona Republic, 10 Sep. 2021

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

Adjective

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

History and Etymology for able

Adjective

Middle English able, abill, borrowed from Anglo-French, going back to Latin habilis "easily handled or adjusted, adaptable," from habēre "to have, hold" + -ilis, alteration (by haplology before labial consonants) of -ibilis -ible — more at give entry 1

Adjective suffix

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French and Middle French, going back to Latin -ābilis, -ibilis, from -ā-, -i- (thematic vowels of various conjugations of verbs) + -bilis "capable (of acting) or worthy of (being acted upon)," going back to pre-Latin *-dhl-is, adjective suffix formed from the instrumental noun suffix *-dhl-om (whence Latin -bulum)

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Time Traveler for able

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near able

-able

able

able-bodied

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Statistics for able

Last Updated

13 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Able.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/able. Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for able

able

adjective
\ ˈā-bəl How to pronounce able (audio) \
abler\ -​blər \; ablest\ -​bləst \

Kids Definition of able

1 : having enough power, resources, or skill to do something Are you able to swim?
2 : having the freedom or opportunity to do something I'll come when I'm able.
3 : having or showing much skill an able dancer

-able

adjective suffix
variants: also -ible \ ə-​bəl \

Kids Definition of -able

1 : capable of, fit for, or worthy of being lovable flexible
2 : tending or likely to changeable

Other Words from able

-ably also -ibly \ ə-​blē \ adverb suffix adorably

Choose the Right Synonym for able

Adjective

able and capable mean having the power to do or accomplish. able may be used for someone who has exceptional skill and has done well in the past. She is an able surgeon with years of experience. capable is usually used to describe someone who has the characteristics suitable for a particular kind of work. The recruits soon proved to be capable soldiers.

able

adjective

Legal Definition of able

1 : possessed of needed powers or of needed resources to accomplish an objective able to perform under the contract
2 : having freedom from restriction or obligation or from conditions preventing an action able to vote
3 : legally qualified : possessed of legal competence able to inherit property

More from Merriam-Webster on able

Nglish: Translation of able for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of able for Arabic Speakers

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