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 Able . a code word formerly used in communications to represent the letter A.
- o·ver·a·ble, adjective
- o·ver·a·b·ly, adverb
Other definitions 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).
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use able in a sentence
We are flattered by the suggestion of our Correspondent, but we must leave the agitation which he suggests to abler hands.
I will confess to you I have thought myself hitherto an abler master to instil vice than to teach virtue.The love letters of Abelard and Heloise | Peter Abelard
To try to describe the beauties of all the suburbs of Florence would require an abler pen than mine.From the Thames to the Tiber | J. Wardle
The abler speakers were obliged to play to the gallery, and take a sentimental and sensational line.The Outline of History: Being a Plain History of Life and Mankind | Herbert George Wells
Let us add to what has been written above a short passage from an abler and far more authoritative pen.The Outline of History: Being a Plain History of Life and Mankind | Herbert George Wells
British Dictionary definitions for able (1 of 2)
(postpositive) having the necessary power, resources, skill, time, opportunity, etc, to do something: able to swim
capable; competent; talented: an able teacher
law qualified, competent, or authorized to do some specific act
British Dictionary definitions for -able (2 of 2)
capable of, suitable for, or deserving of (being acted upon as indicated): enjoyable; pitiable; readable; separable; washable
inclined to; given to; able to; causing: comfortable; reasonable; variable
- -ably, suffix forming adverbs
- -ability, suffix forming nouns
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