ar·​a·​ble | \ ˈa-rə-bəl How to pronounce arable (audio) , ˈer-ə- \

Definition of arable

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : fit for or used for the growing of crops arable land
2 British : engaged in, produced by, or being the cultivation of arable land arable farming arable farmers



Definition of arable (Entry 2 of 2)

chiefly British
: land fit or used for the growing of crops also : a plot of such land the village arable of Anglo-Saxon times

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Other Words from arable


arability \ ˌa-​rə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce arable (audio) , ˌer-​ə-​ \ noun

Examples of arable in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Today, animal agriculture, including many kinds of meat and dairy, as well as fish farming, uses roughly 80% of all arable land and 41% of all freshwater. Miray Zaki, Time, 1 Oct. 2021 More likely, competition for scarce resources—like clean water and arable land—will increase as climate change reduces the volume of resources available. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, 15 Sep. 2021 We are still blessed with an extraordinarily favorable geographical position, as a continental nation with friendly neighbors, access to two oceans, enormous reserves of oil and gas, and vast amounts of arable land. Rich Lowry, National Review, 3 Sep. 2021 The diminishing global arable land, water, marine life, forests, and other biodiversity resources has made insect farming an integral part of the global food economy as an ideal alternative source for animal protein. Jackie Abramian, Forbes, 2 Sep. 2021 The open data initiative that covered the period between 2018 and 2020, disclosed more forests and arable lands than were previously detected. Seth Onyango, Quartz, 10 Aug. 2021 According to the calculations, as the frontier of arable lands creep poleward, pathogens that were once sequestered in the warmer zones follow. Shi En Kim, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 Aug. 2021 Evaporation then reduced the lake to one-quarter of its former size and created thousands of arable acres in an area that had been underwater for millennia. CBS News, 2 July 2021 By improving regulation and legal environments, African countries are counting on investment and technology to put their arable lands and relatively cheap labor to work. Stephen Kafeero, Quartz, 2 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun About 13% of the land is arable, with microclimates suited to nearly every crop. The Economist, 28 May 2020 Today, the 8th Earl and Countess of Carnarvon run the estate, spanning 5,000 acres with 4,000 acres of arable farming. Rachel King, Fortune, 17 Aug. 2019 For centuries, Knepp Castle’s 3,500-acre estate was devoted to intensive arable and dairy farming. National Geographic, 16 June 2018 Traditionally, the arable farmer has fought against two enemies: weather and weeds. Bella Bathurst, Newsweek, 29 May 2014 With the advent of arable and animal agriculture, fishing alone, of the three ancient ways of obtaining food—the other two being hunting and plant foraging—has remained vital to human civilisation. The Economist, 14 Dec. 2017 The pigs are raised in arable bliss by doting artisanal farmers (a marketing narrative orchestrated to sell consumers on the Frankenswine). Emily Poenisch, Esquire, 29 June 2017 But local governments that have relied for years on land sales to fund growth can circumvent restrictions by counting marginal land as arable, or re-zoning urban areas as farms. Bloomberg News,, 19 May 2017 April is also high season for sandstorms, a result of desertification—the transformation of arable, hospitable land into desert. National Geographic, 21 Apr. 2017

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1576, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for arable

Adjective and Noun

Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin arabilis, from arare to plow; akin to Old English erian to plow, Greek aroun

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Time Traveler for arable

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The first known use of arable was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

10 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Arable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for arable


ar·​a·​ble | \ ˈer-ə-bəl How to pronounce arable (audio) \

Kids Definition of arable

: fit for or cultivated by plowing : suitable for producing crops arable land


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