[ uh-poh-zuh-buh l ]
/ əˈpoʊ zə bəl /


capable of being placed opposite to something else: the opposable thumb of primates.
capable of being resisted, fought, or opposed.

Nearby words

  1. opportunistic,
  2. opportunistic infection,
  3. opportunity,
  4. opportunity cost,
  5. opportunity shop,
  6. opposable thumb,
  7. oppose,
  8. opposed,
  9. opposed-cylinder,
  10. opposed-piston engine

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. 2019

Examples from the Web for opposable

British Dictionary definitions for opposable


/ (əˈpəʊzəbəl) /


capable of being opposed
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
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