- (postpositive) having the necessary power, resources, skill, time, opportunity, etc, to do something
- capable; competent; talented
- qualified, competent, or authorized to do some specific act
WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
- having the necessary power, skill, knowledge, or resources to do something:[be + ~ + to + verb]able to read music after just a few lessons.
- having or showing unusual talent, intelligence, skill, or knowledge:an able leader.
- able is an adjective that usually comes after some form of be, ably is an adverb, ability is a noun:John is able to run fast. He did the work ably and efficiently. John has the ability to run fast.See -habil-.
- -able is used to form adjectives from verbs, with the meaning "capable of, fit for, tending to'': teach + -able → teachable (= capable of being taught);
photograph + -able → photographable = (fit for photographing).
- having necessary power, skill, resources, or qualifications;
qualified:able to lift a two-hundred-pound weight; able to travel widely;able to vote.
- having unusual or superior intelligence, skill, etc.:an able leader.
- showing talent, skill, or knowledge:an able speech.
- Lawlegally empowered, qualified, or authorized.
- Telecommunications(usually cap.) a code word formerly used in communications to represent the letter A.
- Latin habilis handy, equivalent. to hab(ēre) to have, hold + -ilis -ile
- Middle French
- Middle English 1275–1325
- 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged fit, fitted. Able, capable, competent all mean possessing adequate power for doing something. Able implies power equal to effort required:able to finish in time.Capable implies power to meet or fulfill ordinary requirements:a capable worker.Competent suggests power to meet demands in a completely satisfactory manner:a competent nurse.
- 2.See corresponding entry in Unabridged talented;
skilled, clever, ingenious.
- 3.See corresponding entry in Unabridged apt.
- 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged incompetent.
used in English as a highly productive suffix to form adjectives by addition to stems of any origin (teachable;
- Latin -ābilis, equivalent. to -ā- final vowel of 1st conjugation verb, verbal stems + -bilis
- Old French
- Middle English
- capable of, suitable for, or deserving of (being acted upon as indicated): enjoyable, pitiable, readable, separable, washable
- inclined to; given to; able to; causing: comfortable, reasonable, variable
-ably suffix forming adverbs -ability suffix forming nouns