[key-buh l]


verb (used with object), ca·bled, ca·bling.

verb (used without object), ca·bled, ca·bling.

to send a message by cable.

Origin of cable

1175–1225; Middle English, probably < Old North French *cable < Late Latin capulum lasso; compare Latin capulāre to rope, halter (cattle), akin to capere to take
Related formsca·ble·like, adjectivere·ca·ble, verb, re·ca·bled, re·ca·bling.un·ca·bled, adjective


[key-buh l]


George Washington,1844–1925, U.S. novelist and short-story writer. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for cable

cord, rope, wire, link, boom, coaxial

Examples from the Web for cable

Contemporary Examples of cable

Historical Examples of cable

  • "The cable would have handled that end of it, I guess," she said, succinctly.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • It was the only cable we used for the first twenty-four hours.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • We brought the ship up with this cable, but not until she got it nearly to the better end.

    Ned Myers

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • The following letter, received by the French cable, explains itself.

  • The action was fought nearly at the distance of a cable's length from the enemy.

British Dictionary definitions for cable



a strong thick rope, usually of twisted hemp or steel wire
nautical an anchor chain or rope
  1. a unit of distance in navigation, equal to one tenth of a sea mile (about 600 feet)
  2. Also called: cable length, cable's lengtha unit of length in nautical use that has various values, including 100 fathoms (600 feet)
a wire or bundle of wires that conducts electricitya submarine cable See also coaxial cable
Also called: overseas telegram, international telegram, cablegram a telegram sent abroad by submarine cable, radio, communications satellite, or by telephone line


to send (a message) to (someone) by cable
(tr) to fasten or provide with a cable or cables
(tr) to supply (a place) with or link (a place) to cable television

Word Origin for cable

C13: from Old Norman French, from Late Latin capulum halter
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

Word Origin and History for cable

c.1200, from Old North French cable, from Medieval Latin capulum "lasso, rope, halter for cattle," from Latin capere "to take, seize" (see capable). Technically, in nautical use, a rope 10 or more inches around; in non-nautical use, a rope of wire (not hemp or fiber). Given a new range of senses in 19c.: Meaning "message received by telegraphic cable" is from 1883 (short for cable message). Cable car is from 1879. Cable television first attested 1963; shortened form cable is from 1972.


c.1500, "to tie up with cables;" 1871, American English, "to transmit by cable;" from cable (n.). Related: Cabled; cabling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper