[uh-poh-zuh-buh l]

Origin of opposable

First recorded in 1660–70; oppose + -able
Related formsop·pos·a·bil·i·ty, nounnon·op·pos·a·ble, adjectiveun·op·pos·a·ble, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Contemporary Examples of opposable

Historical Examples of opposable

British Dictionary definitions for opposable


  1. capable of being opposed
  2. Also: apposable (of the thumb of primates, esp man) capable of being moved into a position facing the other digits so as to be able to touch the ends of each
  3. capable of being placed opposite something else
Derived Formsopposably, adverbopposability, noun
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 opposable

1660s, "capable of being withstood," from oppose + -able. In reference to human thumbs, from 1833. Related: Opposability.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper