Definition of able in English:

able

adjective

  • 1with infinitive Having the power, skill, means, or opportunity to do something.

    ‘he was able to read Greek at the age of eight’
    ‘they would never be able to afford such a big house’
    • ‘We have had a really hard year and I would have never been able to afford to pay for it.’
    • ‘When you add in council tax and other bills we know we wouldn't be able to afford that.’
    • ‘They do not trust the sites as genuine and do not like not being able to see what they are buying.’
    • ‘The dog is able to hear the owner through the speaker on the phone and can bark in response.’
    • ‘It seems just wonderful to be able to take pictures of anything you want and post it.’
    • ‘It is not known if any of the riders will be able to compete at the top level again.’
    • ‘You need to have a strong squad to be able to compete in the top half of the Premiership.’
    • ‘Mark has just started to be able to take a few steps but will never have full mobility again.’
    • ‘He may not have been able to afford the art at the galleries but he met the people who could.’
    • ‘In some ways not being able to drive now is analogous to not being able to read a century ago.’
    • ‘They are allowed one magazine and they might be able to earn the right to have a book.’
    • ‘I hope you will be able to take a few moments to read the following and to add your name to it.’
    • ‘They will be able to travel on one of the club's two yachts and its fleet of private jets.’
    • ‘They have roots in the area yet are worried they may not be able to afford to return to it.’
    • ‘It is one thing to be granted powers, it is another to be able to use them effectively.’
    • ‘I saw this movie on t.v. years and years ago and have yet to be able to find it in a video store.’
    • ‘She was able to break free and punch one of the men when two passersby came to her aid.’
    • ‘So the limelight was off us a bit and we were able to prepare quietly and save our best for last.’
    • ‘Participants do not need to be able to read music or to have sung with a choir before.’
    • ‘The morning journey was relaxing and I was able to read a lot that will help me at work.’
    allowed to, free to, in a position to
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  • 2Having considerable skill, proficiency, or intelligence.

    ‘the dancers were technically very able’
    • ‘I think she's the ablest person I ever worked with in public life.’
    • ‘This Club has lost one of its ablest, best-liked, and most beloved members.’
    • ‘The translation was made by an array of the most able scholars and poets of the time.’
    • ‘This will encourage children to work hard to improve in areas where they are less able.’
    • ‘The country needs more able, less ideologically warped people in charge.’
    • ‘Born into a noble family, Neroccio was one of the most able artists of late 15th-century Siena.’
    • ‘Abler students would do well to supplement Post's book with Bell's ‘Elizabethan Women and Poetry of Courtship’.’
    • ‘He praises her uncomplaining acceptance of the restrictions and disregard she had to bear as a woman when she knew herself to be much abler than most men.’
    • ‘Even as she got older and became physically less able, she was still as sharp as a button.’
    • ‘Two of the abler young novelists of the time, Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene, were converts to Roman Catholicism.’
    intelligent, clever, brilliant, talented, skilful, skilled, accomplished, gifted, masterly, virtuoso, expert
    View synonyms

Origin

Late Middle English (also in the sense ‘easy to use, suitable’): from Old French hable, from Latin habilis ‘handy’, from habere ‘to hold’.

Pronunciation

able

/ˈeɪb(ə)l/