Definitions

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

  • adj. Having sufficient power or resources to accomplish something: a singer able to reach high notes; a detergent able to remove stains.
  • adj. Usage Problem Susceptible to action or treatment: The brakes were able to be fixed.
  • adj. Especially capable or talented.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A word that is used in place of the letter "A" during communication.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Fit; adapted; suitable.
  • adj. Having sufficient power, strength, force, skill, means, or resources of any kind to accomplish the object; possessed of qualifications rendering competent for some end; competent; qualified; capable
  • adj. Specially: Having intellectual qualifications, or strong mental powers; showing ability or skill; talented; clever; powerful
  • adj. Legally qualified; possessed of legal competence.
  • transitive v. To make able; to enable; to strengthen.
  • transitive v. To vouch for.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Having power or means sufficient; qualified; competent: as, a man able to perform military service; a child is not able to reason on abstract subjects.
  • Legally entitled or authorized; having the requisite legal qualification: as, an illegitimate son is not able to take by inheritance.
  • In an absolute sense: Vigorous; active.
  • Having strong or unusual powers of mind, or intellectual qualifications: as, an able minister.
  • To enable.
  • To warrant or answer for.
  • n. Same as ablet.
  • n. A common termination of English adjectives, especially of those based on verbs.

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

  • adj. have the skills and qualifications to do things well
  • adj. having inherent physical or mental ability or capacity
  • adj. (usually followed by `to') having the necessary means or skill or know-how or authority to do something
  • adj. having a strong healthy body

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin habilis, from habēre, to handle; see ghabh- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old Northern French able, variant of Old French abile, habile, from Latin habilis ("easily managed, held, or handled; apt; skillful"), from habeō ("have, hold"). (Wiktionary)
From Middle English ablen, from Middle English able (adjective). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • [The words are on the board in this form: love + able, care + less.] “The suffix _able_ begins with the vowel _a_; therefore when it is added to the word _love_ the final silent _e_ is dropped, and the word is spelled _lovable_.”

    Orthography As Outlined in the State Course of Study for Illinois

  • I signed on as able seaman -- _able_ seaman 'cause I was a fishing chap an 'had me Royal Naval Reserve ticket -- aboard the

    A Poor Man's House

  • England what it is, -- able to subdue the earth, _able to domineer over Catholics.

    English: Composition and Literature

  • (property), since a proprium is included in the definition of a subject, as in ˜a human being is able to laugh™, where the term ˜human being™ is included in the definition of the predicate ˜able to laugh™.

    The Statue of a Writer

  • Custer was a horrendous student, and the word able was not the first that came to mind when people described him.

    EMPIRE OF THE SUMMER MOON

  • The term able, therefore, signifies more than _capable_, more than well-informed, whether applied to an artist, a general, a man of learning, or a judge.

    The Writings of Thomas Jefferson Library Edition - Vol. 6 (of 20)

  • Hafen said he hopes to make the city sustainable, which he defined as able to meet the needs of today without sacrificing the needs of future generations.

    Las Vegas Sun Stories: All Sun Headlines

  • Not a sales rep or stock holder - just a very proud admin able to walk into work on Thursday and confidently say we're up and secure. binaryspiral

    How To Fix The McAfee Restart Debacle On Your Machines | Lifehacker Australia

  • It was a pandemonium of pain, for, their parched throats softened by the water, they were again able to yelp and cry out loudly all their hurt and woe.

    CHAPTER XXX

  • Â In either case, Brainiac 5 was again able to return Mon-El to life, and cure him of the lead poisoning that left him in the zone 1000 years ago (his visit to Earth and the interactions with young Clark Kent that left him poisoned having recurred on New Earth, minus the intentional poisoning attempt) but the Legion is immediately thrown into the middle of a war.

    Hero History: Mon-El | Major Spoilers - Comic Book Reviews and News

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