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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from able

Adjective suffix

-ably or less commonly -ibly adverb suffix

Synonyms & Antonyms for able

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective If Hilton’s not back in the lineup, a receiver other than Pittman Jr. has to be able to take advantage. Joel A. Erickson, The Indianapolis Star, 16 Oct. 2021 In the long run, however, being able to take care of yourself might be its own reward. Tarot Astrologers, chicagotribune.com, 16 Oct. 2021 Go on a round trip on Ain Dubai -- The world's tallest Ferris wheel will open on October 21, when guests will finally be able to take a ride on the 250-meter (820 feet) high attraction. Maureen O'hare, CNN, 16 Oct. 2021 Breast cancer survivors will be able to drive through the lot to pick up their pre-purchased Pink Elephant grab bag and silent auction items. Madison Bateman, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, 15 Oct. 2021 Galvan was able to drive his team down the field fairly consistently, and recorded three passing touchdowns, all three to different receivers. The Arizona Republic, 15 Oct. 2021 Companies will be able to take advantage of technology such as computer vision and visual inspection lineage and run comparisons within a robotics ecosystem. Francois Laborie, Forbes, 14 Oct. 2021 But roughly 1 million of them with close relatives in the U.S. would be able to take advantage of existing procedures to seek that status, the advocate said. BostonGlobe.com, 14 Oct. 2021 Regular Apple Watch Series 7 users won’t be able to take advantage of the wireless module. Chris Smith, BGR, 14 Oct. 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.

See More

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)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About able

Time Traveler for able

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near able

ablaze

able

-able

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for able

Last Updated

19 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Able.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/able. Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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