• synonyms


[op-er-uh-buh l, op-ruh-]
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  1. that can be treated by a surgical operation.Compare inoperable(def 2).
  2. capable of being put into use, operation, or practice.
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Origin of operable

1640–50; < Late Latin operābilis, equivalent to operā(rī) to work + -bilis -ble
Related formsop·er·a·bil·i·ty, nounop·er·a·bly, adverbnon·op·er·a·ble, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for operable

Historical Examples

  • In the second case the cancer is operable and the child is viable.

    The Ethics of Medical Homicide and Mutilation

    Austin O'Malley

  • Their condition varies, but many are operable, or could easily be made so.

  • How could this principle be unified through all branches of science and reduced to an operable law?


    Henry Sydnor Harrison

  • In the first case the supposition is that the case is operable but the child inviable.

  • The Wrights' goal was an operable and reasonably lightweight unit to be obtained quickly and cheaply.

British Dictionary definitions for operable


  1. capable of being treated by a surgical operation
  2. capable of being operated
  3. capable of being put into practice
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Derived Formsoperability, nounoperably, adverb
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 operable


1640s, "practicable," from operate + -able, or else from Late Latin operabilis. Surgical sense, "capable of treatment by operation," recorded by 1904. Related: Operability.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

operable in Medicine


(ŏpər-ə-bəl, ŏprə-)
  1. Being treatable by surgical operation with a reasonable degree of safety and chance of success.
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Related formsop′er•a•bili•ty n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.