Main definitions of sable in English

: sable1sable2

sable1

noun

  • 1A marten with a short tail and dark brown fur, native to Japan and Siberia and valued for its fur.

    • ‘They herded reindeer, which provided meat and skins, caught and preserved the great shoals of salmon which surged up the summer rivers, and hunted the bears, foxes and sable, whose furs helped them to survive the cold.’
    • ‘Tradition had it that the island was rich in game (reindeer, polar bears, sables, marten, fish, and certain monsters - perhaps walrus), and that it abounded in marble, crystals, and so on.’
    • ‘Local tribes sometimes resisted, but in the long run were subdued and subjected to tribute, usually in the form of so many skins per year, the sable being especially sought.’
    • ‘The area's vast reserves protect animals both rare (Barguzin sable, Baikal seal) and abundant (brown bear, forest reindeer).’
    • ‘Thus, you get the flora and fauna of both - tigers, panthers, wild boar and pythons tread the same tracks as reindeer, wolves and sables.’
    • ‘Then patrol the shorelines to observe sables and the world's biggest brown bears, and to scout potential nature-reserve sites.’
    • ‘He wrote, ‘The principal riches of Kamchatka consist in the great number of wild beasts: among them are foxes, sables, stone foxes, hares, marmots, ermines, weasels, wolves, reindeer, wild and tame, and stone rams.’’
    • ‘According to old accounts, at that time, one good pelt of sable could bring enough money to buy a 50-acre farm.’
    • ‘Russia's first strict nature reserve - Barguzinsky Zapovednik - was founded in 1916 on the eastern shore of Lake Baikal to protect the endangered Barguzin sable.’
    • ‘The Chinese caravans traded silk, porcelain and tea for furs of black fox and sable, and ivory tusks from frozen mammoths.’
    1. 1.1[mass noun] The fur of the sable.
      • ‘Even at its zenith in the mid-20th century, mink had few rivals, with only sable and the pelts of big cats bestowing anywhere near the same prestige.’
      • ‘But it was the Tzar’s luxurious fur coat made of sable and decorated with gold and silver thread that impressed them the most.’
      • ‘He does not wear his silks and sables to accurately represent his status, nor does he dress sumptuously to insidiously advance himself.’
      • ‘On more practical ground, Ferrè also delivered a few totally tempting scarves with cashmere rib-knit on one side, and sable on the other.’
      • ‘Larsson should have been adorned in ermine and sable in Andalucia.’
      • ‘While assembling my belongings, I came across a lovely dress, a creamy chiffon, in the Empress Josephine style, with a bit of luxurious sable round the shoulder.’
      • ‘Mink is America's favorite fur, according to the Fur Information Council of America, followed by sable, fox and beaver.’
      • ‘The law emphasizes that only those of ‘superior degrees’ are permitted to wear satin, silk, and sable or cloth made of or mixed with gold, silver, or tinsel.’
      • ‘You turn to look into the thrilling eyes of a beautiful woman, wonderful in diamonds and Russian sables.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Old French, in the sense sable fur, from medieval Latin sabelum, of Slavic origin.

Pronunciation:

sable

/ˈseɪb(ə)l/

Main definitions of sable in English

: sable1sable2

sable2

adjective

Heraldry
literary
  • Black:

    ‘the sable blackness of her hair’
    [postpositive] ‘six martlets sable’
    • ‘The maiden brushed a strand of sable hair behind her ear and gazed straight into the eyes of her nervous king, the emeralds set into her own face unnervingly refusing to blink.’
    • ‘Her skin was sable black and shining lightening blue.’
    • ‘Jane is a black / sable / tan medium-sized cross breed, approx. 8-10 years old.’
    • ‘Unlike the dragon so pictured, its sable scales shimmered with an inner light, a fire, a pulse, and seemed almost transparent.’
    • ‘As expected, the door opened to reveal Aunt Demeter's porcelain, rose-accented features and sable hair.’
    • ‘He pulled Rochelle's sable ringlets away from her neck and began to kiss it.’
    • ‘If you have brown eyes, stick with taupe, sable and mocha hues.’
    • ‘Adele stopped reading and met Dana's sable eyes with her own lavender ones.’
    • ‘Her own sable tresses fell into her eyes and she carelessly brushed them away, deeper things on her mind than her chosen body.’
    • ‘Her hair matched the sable shade of Belinda's skin.’
    • ‘The peculiar thing was that sable curtains blocked the inside of the store from view.’
    • ‘Servants in their traditional livery continued about their tasks, sable bands about their arms in honor.’
    • ‘As he left, he did not notice the hateful eyes of the sable raven, watching Calanthas go, from a windowsill.’
    • ‘Other sources indicate the Irish setter was used in early breeding - the collie's sable color may be the indirect result of such a cross.’
    • ‘He had the palest skin she had ever seen, milky white, and he was topped with a neatly cropped head of sable hair.’
    • ‘Sauron has accepted victory, and the sable banners of the Lidless Eye will be hoisted over the walls of the captured city.’
    • ‘My wife and girls fell instantly into dreams while I navigated a causeway suspended between an indigo sky and the sable sea, two voluptuous bodies winking at each other like old lovers.’
    • ‘The family arms were; ‘Argent, a fess between six crosslets fitchee sable.’’
    • ‘Although her intended audience is not black, she still refers to ‘our sable race.’’
    • ‘Two thirds of it was lined with sable bookcases, all stuffed to the gills with heavyweight texts on every subject conceivable.’
    • ‘The most frequently seen are shades of darkest red to lightest cream, some with sable accents; but many Poms occur in solid black, black and tan, and parti-colors.’
    • ‘As though in a trance they stood, staring at that white mask with its black eyes and frame of sable hair, paralyzed by hesitation.’
    • ‘The carriage door swung open, revealing a tall woman with sable hair and dressed in an azure gown, bringing out her gray-blue eyes.’
    • ‘Chocolate brown eyes had been coloured sable with grief and longing, and that added to the visible exhaustion of what could only be more than a week's worth of sleeplessness…’
    • ‘Valarie brushed a lock of sable hair off her shoulder and twirled around proudly, ‘Like my outfit?’’
    black, jet-black, jet, pitch-black, pitch-dark, pitch, black as pitch, pitchy, ebony, raven, sooty, dusky, ink-black, inky, black as ink, coal-black, black as coal, black as night
    ebon
    View synonyms

noun

  • 1Heraldry
    literary [mass noun] Black.

    • ‘Shar-Pei come in just about every colour there is - black, red, red-fawn, fawn, black-pointed cream, sable and blue.’
    • ‘Colours are orchestrated in dark tones, such as sable, olive and black accented with flashes of ultramarine.’
    • ‘Other solid colours include sable, buff, red and chocolate.’
    • ‘The Tonkinese occurs in four colors: natural, which is also called sable or seal; champagne, also called chocolate; platinum, also called lilac or frost; and blue.’
    • ‘They say he's tall and handsome, and that his hair is as black as sable.’
    black, jet-black, jet, pitch-black, pitch-dark, pitch, black as pitch, pitchy, ebony, raven, sooty, dusky, ink-black, inky, black as ink, coal-black, black as coal, black as night
    ebon
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1sablesarchaic Mourning garments.
      • ‘He is in mourning for his father still, even though it's been 3 years, and goes about dressed in sables which people think terribly unfashionable.’
      • ‘Our spirits are dressed in sables, and to laugh so very suddenly seems out of character.’
  • 2A large African antelope with long curved horns, the male of which has a black coat and the female a russet coat, both having a white belly.

    • ‘Also present are elephant, sable antelope, reedbuck, common duiker, blue and vervet monkeys.’
    • ‘Antelopes are well represented here, particularly the sable antelope which shows off their extravagant horns as they proudly march between stands of miombo woodland trees.’
    • ‘I grew up with impala and sable antelope, burnt-amber kudu, zebra and wiry wildebeest.’
    • ‘The grazers are mainly antelope, wildebeest, hartebeest, oribi, impala, gazelle, reedbuck, roan and sable antelope.’
    • ‘The relocation is the first phase of a resettlement programme of several wildlife species, including giant sable and red buffalo, to Kissama over the next five years.’
    • ‘The 50,000 acres of land at Gourlays Ranch is a recognised wildlife conservancy, home to thousands of animals including elephants, leopards, sables and kudus.’
    • ‘The Selous has huge herds of sable antelope and estimated 10,000 of them although they are rare in the tourist parts of this huge reserve.’
    • ‘The 14 species of the game include giraffes, zebras, sables, kudus, elands, impalas, pukus, waterbucks, reedbucks, siatoongas, bushbucks, common buickers and graycebucks.’
    • ‘The handsome sable antelope of eastern and southern Africa belongs to a group called sabre-horned antelopes, because of their long, scimitar-shaped horns.’
    • ‘Throughout Zimbabwe, 64 percent of kudu, 63 percent of giraffes, 56 percent of cheetahs, and 53 percent of sable antelope and impalas were on private ranch properties.’
    • ‘It is therefore, common to find different species of grazers co-existing with zebra, buffalo, sable, roan, hartebeest and wildebeest.’
    • ‘Lions are about the only predators strong enough to bring down a healthy sable.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old French (as a heraldic term), generally taken to be identical with sable, although sable fur is dark brown.

Pronunciation:

sable

/ˈseɪb(ə)l/