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unable

[uhn-ey-buh l] /ʌnˈeɪ bəl/
adjective
1.
lacking the necessary power, competence, etc., to accomplish some specified act:
He was unable to swim.
Origin of unable
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English; see un-1, able
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for unable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Because one is ugly and strong, the other graceful but unable to stand alone?

    Moods Louisa May Alcott
  • But he was unable to eat after it was on the table before him.

    The Man from the Bitter Roots Caroline Lockhart
  • I tried to banish the thought as an absurdity, but was unable to do so.

  • The sloth, which has four feet, is unable to use them to support his body on the earth.

    The Western World W.H.G. Kingston
  • It behoves an enlightened Government to do for the people and the country what they are unable to do for themselves.

British Dictionary definitions for unable

unable

/ʌnˈeɪbəl/
adjective
1.
(postpositive) foll by to. lacking the necessary power, ability, or authority (to do something); not able
2.
(archaic) incompetent
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
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Word Origin and History for unable
adj.

late 14c., "lacking in ability, incapable," from un- (1) "not" + able. Modeled on Old French inhabile or Latin inhabilis.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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8
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