- 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.
- having unusual or superior intelligence, skill, etc.: an able leader.
- showing talent, skill, or knowledge: an able speech.
- legally empowered, qualified, or authorized.
- (usually initial capital letter) a code word formerly used in communications to represent the letter A.
Origin of able
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for ablest
Their finest thinkers and ablest warriors migrated southward.India’s Newest State Telangana Is Bosnia Redux
March 22, 2014
Defense Secretary Robert Gates saw Petraeus as the ablest choice.New Biography of General Petraeus Misses the Man
February 2, 2012
For many years his staff has been the ablest on Capitol Hill, but most of the public never knew their names.Ted Kennedy, the Eulogist
August 26, 2009
One of the ablest men, Mr. Toad, after all, that this country ever produced.Vivian Grey
Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli
Very many of the ablest and noblest statesmen of the time shared it with him.Patrick Henry
Moses Coit Tyler
He is their ablest general, and very active and enterprising.At Aboukir and Acre
George Alfred Henty
It was shared and advocated by many of the best and ablest men.
The ablest critics and musicians in Europe have taken part in it.The Standard Oratorios
George P. Upton
- (postpositive) having the necessary power, resources, skill, time, opportunity, etc, to do somethingable to swim
- capable; competent; talentedan able teacher
- law qualified, competent, or authorized to do some specific act
Word Origin and History for ablest
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]