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able

[ey-buh l]
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adjective, a·bler, a·blest.
  1. having necessary power, skill, resources, or qualifications; qualified: able to lift a two-hundred-pound weight; able to write music; able to travel widely; able to vote.
  2. having unusual or superior intelligence, skill, etc.: an able leader.
  3. showing talent, skill, or knowledge: an able speech.
  4. legally empowered, qualified, or authorized.
noun
  1. (usually initial capital letter) a code word formerly used in communications to represent the letter A.

Origin of able

1275–1325; Middle English < Middle French < Latin habilis handy, equivalent to hab(ēre) to have, hold + -ilis -ile
Related formso·ver·a·ble, adjectiveo·ver·a·b·ly, adverb

Synonyms

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1. fit, fitted. 2. talented; skilled, clever, ingenious. 3. apt.

Synonym study

1. Able, capable, competent all mean possessing adequate power for doing something. Able implies power equal to effort required: able to finish in time. Capable implies power to meet or fulfill ordinary requirements: a capable worker. Competent suggests power to meet demands in a completely satisfactory manner: a competent nurse.

Antonyms

1. incompetent.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for ablest

able

adjective
  1. (postpositive) having the necessary power, resources, skill, time, opportunity, etc, to do somethingable to swim
  2. capable; competent; talentedan able teacher
  3. law qualified, competent, or authorized to do some specific act

Word Origin

C14: ultimately from Latin habilis easy to hold, manageable, apt, from habēre to have, hold + -ilis -ile
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for ablest

able

adj.

early 14c., from Old French (h)able (14c.), from Latin habilem, habilis "easily handled, apt," verbal adjective from habere "to hold" (see habit). "Easy to be held," hence "fit for a purpose." The silent h- was dropped in English and resisted academic attempts to restore it 16c.-17c., but some derivatives acquired it (e.g. habiliment, habilitate), via French.

Able-whackets - A popular sea-game with cards, in which the loser is beaten over the palms of the hands with a handkerchief tightly twisted like a rope. Very popular with horny-fisted sailors. [Smyth, "Sailor's Word-Book," 1867]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper