[ ey-buhl ]
/ ˈeɪ bəl /
adjective, a·bler, a·blest.
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.
Content related to able
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Words nearby able
Origin of able
1275–1325; Middle English < Middle French < Latin habilis handy, equivalent to hab(ēre) to have, hold + -ilis -ile
SYNONYMS FOR able
OTHER WORDS FROM ableo·ver·a·ble, adjectiveo·ver·a·b·ly, adverb
synonym study for able
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.
Definition for able (2 of 2)
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).
Origin of -able
Middle English < Old French < Latin -ābilis, equivalent to -ā- final vowel of 1st conjugation v. stems + -bilis
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for able (1 of 2)
/ (ˈeɪbəl) /
(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 for able
C14: ultimately from Latin habilis easy to hold, manageable, apt, from habēre to have, hold + -ilis -ile
British Dictionary definitions for able (2 of 2)
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