able

able

synonyms, antonyms, definitions, examples & translations of able in English

English Online Dictionary. What means able‎? What does able mean?

English

Alternative forms

  • (obsolete) hable

Pronunciation

  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈeɪ.bl̩/, /ˈeɪ.bəl/
  • Rhymes: -eɪbəl
  • Homophone: Abel

Etymology 1

From Middle English able, from Old Northern French able, variant of Old French abile, habile, from Latin habilis (easily managed, held, or handled; apt; skillful), from habeō (have, possess) +‎ -ibilis.

Adjective

able (comparative abler, superlative ablest)

  1. (obsolete) Easy to use. [Attested from around (1350 to 1470) until the mid 18th century.]
  2. (obsolete) Suitable; competent. [Attested from around (1350 to 1470) until the late 18th century.]
  3. (obsolete, dialectal) Liable to. [First attested from around (1350 to 1470).]
  4. Having the necessary powers or the needed resources to accomplish a task. [First attested from around (1350 to 1470).]
  5. Free from constraints preventing completion of task; permitted to; not prevented from. [First attested from around (1350 to 1470).]
  6. (obsolete, dialectal) Having the physical strength; robust; healthy. [First attested from around (1350 to 1470).]
  7. (obsolete) Rich; well-to-do. [Attested from the mid 16th century until the late 19th century.]
  8. Gifted with skill, intelligence, knowledge, or competence. [First attested in the mid 16th century.]
  9. (law) Legally qualified or competent. [First attested in the early 18th century.]
  10. (nautical) Capable of performing all the requisite duties; as an able seaman. [First attested in the late 18th century.]
Usage notes
  • In standard English, one is "able to do something". In some older texts representing various dialects, particularly Irish English, or black speech, "able for do something" is found instead, and in some Caribbean dialects "able with" is sometimes found.
Synonyms
  • See also Thesaurus:skillful
Derived terms
Translations

Etymology 2

From Middle English ablen, from Middle English able (adjective).

Verb

able (third-person singular simple present ables, present participle abling, simple past and past participle abled)

  1. (transitive, obsolete) To make ready. [Attested from around (1150 to 1350) until the late 16th century.]
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To make capable; to enable. [Attested from around (1350 to 1470) until the late 19th century.]
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To dress. [Attested from around (1350 to 1470) until the late 15th century.]
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To give power to; to reinforce; to confirm. [Attested from around (1350 to 1470) until the mid 17th century.]
  5. (transitive, obsolete) To vouch for; to guarantee. [Attested from the late 16th century until the early 17th century.]
Derived terms
  • abled
Translations

Etymology 3

From the first letter of the word. Suggested in the 1916 United States Army Signal Book to distinguish the letter when communicating via telephone, and later adopted in other radio and telephone signal standards.

Noun

able (uncountable)

  1. (military) The letter "A" in Navy Phonetic Alphabet.

References

Anagrams

  • Abel, Bale, Beal, Blea, Ebla, Elba, albe, bael, bale, beal, blea

French

Pronunciation

Noun

able m (plural ables)

  1. a vernacular name of the common bleak (usually called ablette)
  2. a vernacular name of the sunbleak or moderlieschen, also called able de Heckel
  3. (rare) a vernacular name of any of some other related fishes in the genus Alburnus (Cyprinidae)

Further reading

  • “able” in Trésor de la langue française informatisé (The Digitized Treasury of the French Language).

Anagrams

  • Abel, Bâle, béal, bêla

Middle English

Alternative forms

  • hable

Etymology

From Old French able, habile, from Latin habilis.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /ˈaːbəl/

Adjective

able

  1. capable, expert, qualified, skilful, competent.

Descendants

  • English: able
  • Scots: able, aible

References

  • “āble, adj.”, in MED Online, Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan, 2007.

Old French

Alternative forms

  • abile
  • abille
  • habile

Etymology

From Latin habilis.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /ˈa.blə/

Adjective

able m (oblique and nominative feminine singular able)

  1. able; capable

Declension

Descendants

  • French: habile
    • Romanian: abil
  • Middle Dutch: abel
    • Dutch: abel
  • Middle English: able, habil
    • English: able, habile
      • Welsh: abl

Scots

Alternative forms

  • aible
  • (South) yibble

Etymology

From Middle English able.

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /ebl/
  • (South) IPA(key): /jɪbl/

Adjective

able (comparative abler, superlative ablest)

  1. (obsolete) well-to-do, rich;
  2. substantial;
  3. physically fit, strong;
  4. shrewd, cute, clever.

Adverb

able (not comparable)

  1. perhaps

References

  • “able, adj.” in the Dictionary of the Scots Language, Edinburgh: Scottish Language Dictionaries.

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This article based on an article on Wiktionary. The list of authors can be seen in the page history there. The original work has been modified. This article is distributed under the terms of this license.