WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
a•ble /ˈeɪbəl/USA pronunciation   adj. (for def. 2) a•bler, a•blest. 
  1. having the necessary power, skill, knowledge, or resources to do something:[be + ~ + to + verb]able to read music after just a few lessons.
  2. having or showing unusual talent, intelligence, skill, or knowledge:an able leader.
a•bly, adv. 
    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,  suffix. 
  1. -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).
Compare -ible.
WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017
a•ble  bəl),USA pronunciation adj.,  a•bler, a•blest, n. 
  1. having necessary power, skill, resources, or qualifications;
    qualified:able to lift a two-hundred-pound weight; able to travel widely;able to vote.
  2. having unusual or superior intelligence, skill, etc.:an able leader.
  3. showing talent, skill, or knowledge:an able speech.
  4. Lawlegally empowered, qualified, or authorized.

  1. 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.

  • a suffix meaning "capable of, susceptible of, fit for, tending to, given to,'' associated in meaning with the word  able, occurring in loanwords from Latin (laudable);
    used in English as a highly productive suffix to form adjectives by addition to stems of any origin (teachable;
  • Also,  -ble, -ible. 
    • Latin -ābilis, equivalent. to -ā- final vowel of 1st conjugation verb, verbal stems + -bilis
    • Old French
    • Middle English

    Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

    able /ˈeɪbəl/ adj
    1. (postpositive) having the necessary power, resources, skill, time, opportunity, etc, to do something
    2. capable; competent; talented
    3. qualified, competent, or authorized to do some specific act
    Etymology: 14th Century: ultimately from Latin habilis easy to hold, manageable, apt, from habēre to have, hold + -ilis -ile

    -able suffix forming adjectives
    1. capable of, suitable for, or deserving of (being acted upon as indicated): enjoyable, pitiable, readable, separable, washable
    2. inclined to; given to; able to; causing: comfortable, reasonable, variable
    Etymology: via Old French from Latin -ābilis,-ībilis, forms of -bilis, adjectival suffix

    -ably suffix forming adverbs -ability suffix forming nouns

    'able' also found in these entries:

    Forum discussions with the word(s) "able" in the title:

    Look up "able" at Merriam-Webster
    Look up "able" at dictionary.com

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