a suffix meaning “capable of, susceptible of, fit for, tending to, given to,” associated in meaning with the word able, occurring in loanwords from Latin (laudable); used in English as a highly productive suffix to form adjectives by addition to stems of any origin (teachable; photographable).
Can You Ace This Quiz About “Compliment” vs. “Complement”?
Take this quiz to see if you really know the difference between “compliment” and “complement"!
Question 1 of 11
“Compliment” and “complement” had a shared meaning a long time ago, but today they are no longer interchangeable.
Origin of -able
Middle English < Old French < Latin -ābilis, equivalent to -ā- final vowel of 1st conjugation v. stems + -bilis
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British Dictionary definitions for -able
suffix forming adjectives
capable of, suitable for, or deserving of (being acted upon as indicated)enjoyable; pitiable; readable; separable; washable
inclined to; given to; able to; causingcomfortable; reasonable; variable
Derived forms of -able-ably, suffix forming adverbs-ability, suffix forming nouns
Word Origin for -able
via Old French from Latin -ābilis, -ībilis, forms of -bilis, adjectival suffix
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