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

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

/ˈeɪbəl//ˈābəl/