Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. That can be passed, traversed, or crossed; navigable: a passable road.
  • adj. Acceptable for general circulation: passable currency.
  • adj. Satisfactory but not outstanding; adequate: The actors gave passable performances but the singers seemed unrehearsed.
  • adj. That can be legislated: a passable bill.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. That may be passed or traversed.
  • adj. Tolerable; satisfactory; adequate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Capable of being passed, traveled, navigated, traversed, penetrated, or the like
  • adj. Capable of being freely circulated or disseminated; acceptable; generally receivable; current.
  • adj. Such as may be accepted or allowed to pass without serious objection; adequate; acceptable; tolerable; admissable; moderate; mediocre.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Capable of being passed, traveled, navigated, traversed, penetrated, or the like: as, the roads are not passable; the stream is passable in boats.
  • That may be passed from hand to hand as a thing of value; current; receivable: as, bills passable in lieu of coin.
  • Such as may be allowed to pass; allowable; admissible; tolerable; reaching or just rising above mediocrity.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. able to be passed or traversed or crossed
  • adj. about average; acceptable

Etymologies

From French passable (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • (END VIDEOTAPE) MOOS: Now, since everyone is always being asked to create new passwords, we thought we would come up with a list of what we called passable tips for creating new passwords.

    CNN Transcript May 8, 2002

  • No, it's located interally, as she just tries to crank out something passable from the larynx.

    The revenge of the voice

  • I have yet to hear any acts of contrition from the media or people like Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, who i held in passable esteem for what they said and why they said it.

    Mind The Gap « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • But, amazingly, it was passable from the second to fifth floors.

    USATODAY.com - Miracles emerge from debris

  • We weren't sure what we were waiting for until a nice looking Mexican man returned and asked in passable English, "May I help you?"

    Mexico: a visit to Sayula, Zapotlanejo and Zapopan

  • If, however, you have the good fortune to be able to decline the suggestion in passable French, you will so warm the old gentleman's heart that he will take you into his house and he will give you a cigar from the secret box that he keeps for the Bishop and other distinguished visitors.

    Quebec

  • "No, thank you;" the senior lieutenant, in passable English, declined the invitation to enter.

    Whose Business Is To Live

  • He then called for some clean straw, and began to stuff himself out again to what he called a passable size.

    Tales and Novels — Volume 02

  • And while I favor the President's idea to have this be a thing born from the legislative branch, there have been too many signals from the White House recently that they are willing to label passable weak tea

    Democracy for New Hampshire - Growing the grassroots in New Hampshire's political landscape

  • I thought Michelle Ryan was passable, which is good considering I found her utterly unwatchable in The Bionic Woman.

    Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead (spoilers)

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Comments

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  • See my similar experience at linguistical deafblindness. At least you got to duel it out; I fouled up the first word they gave me. ;-)

    October 23, 2007

  • I feel your pain, logophile--I had a similar experience as a kid. Just wasn't thinking.

    But now we've discovered Wordie, and all is well. :-)

    October 22, 2007

  • I've always loved the term passable fair from my childhood in the South, as in:

    "How did you like the tractor pull?"
    "Oh, it was passable fair."

    October 21, 2007

  • You've got to look at the bright side logophile, nobody ever had their life ruined because they were only a passibly good speller.

    October 21, 2007

  • Spelling bee, sixth grade. Just me and one other person dueling it out. He gets "cookware." I get "passable" - and spell it p-a-s-s-I-b-l-e. "Passable" is my least favorite word because it's haunted me for years in its silvery gleam.

    The silver, if you haven't caught on, signifies my being runner-up in the spelling bee, something I cannot stand for some nine years later.

    October 21, 2007