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unable

[uhn-ey-buh l]
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adjective
  1. lacking the necessary power, competence, etc., to accomplish some specified act: He was unable to swim.
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Origin of unable

Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at un-1, able

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for unable

unable

adjective
  1. (postpositive foll by to) lacking the necessary power, ability, or authority (to do something); not able
  2. archaic incompetent
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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 unable

adj.

late 14c., "lacking in ability, incapable," from un- (1) "not" + able. Modeled on Old French inhabile or Latin inhabilis.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper