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able

[ey-buh l] /ˈeɪ bəl/
adjective, abler, ablest.
1.
having necessary power, skill, resources, or qualifications; qualified:
able to lift a two-hundred-pound weight; able to write music; 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.
legally empowered, qualified, or authorized.
noun
5.
(usually initial capital letter) a code word formerly used in communications to represent the letter A.
Origin
1275-1325
1275-1325; Middle English < Middle French < Latin habilis handy, equivalent to hab(ēre) to have, hold + -ilis -ile
Related forms
overable, adjective
overably, adverb
Synonyms
1. 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. talented; skilled, clever, ingenious. 3. apt.
Antonyms
1. incompetent.

-able

1.
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; photographable).
Also, -ble, -ible.
Origin
Middle English < Old French < Latin -ābilis, equivalent to -ā- final vowel of 1st conjugation v. stems + -bilis
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for able
  • But being able to feel a bit better-off than someone else makes it a bit more bearable.
  • If students are not yet able to write, have them draw pictures of the mummies and share their pictures in small groups.
  • But someone who knows more about this might be able to correct me.
  • Many families dream of owning a vacation home, but few are able to make that a reality.
  • For the first time, scientists were able to track an asteroid from space to the ground and recover pieces of it.
  • In a play loaded with clever words, the funniest scene is one about not being able to get any out.
  • The downside is that the academic has to be able to function in a highly regimented way, be able to write on a schedule, etc.
  • The more precise and unusual the request, the less people were able to resist it.
  • Not being able to nurse and choosing not to ever nurse are two different things.
  • She wanted viewers to be able to invent their own stories to suit the scene, perhaps even insert themselves in it.
British Dictionary definitions for able

able

/ˈeɪbəl/
adjective
1.
(postpositive) having the necessary power, resources, skill, time, opportunity, etc, to do something: able to swim
2.
capable; competent; talented: an able teacher
3.
(law) qualified, competent, or authorized to do some specific act
Word Origin
C14: ultimately from Latin habilis easy to hold, manageable, apt, from habēre to have, hold + -ilis-ile

-able

suffix
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
Derived Forms
-ably, suffix:forming_adverbs
-ability, suffix:forming_nouns
Word Origin
via Old French from Latin -ābilis,-ībilis, forms of -bilis, adjectival suffix
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for able
adj.

early 14c., from Old French (h)able (14c.), from Latin habilem, habilis "easily handled, apt," verbal adjective from habere "to hold" (see habit). "Easy to be held," hence "fit for a purpose." The silent h- was dropped in English and resisted academic attempts to restore it 16c.-17c., but some derivatives acquired it (e.g. habiliment, habilitate), via French.

Able-whackets - A popular sea-game with cards, in which the loser is beaten over the palms of the hands with a handkerchief tightly twisted like a rope. Very popular with horny-fisted sailors. [Smyth, "Sailor's Word-Book," 1867]

-able

word-forming element expressing ability, capacity, fitness, from French, from Latin -ibilis, -abilis, forming adjectives from verbs, from PIE *-tro-, a suffix used to form nouns of instrument.

In Latin, infinitives in -are took -abilis, others -ibilis; in English, -able tends to be used with native (and other non-Latin) words, -ible with words of obvious Latin origin (but there are exceptions). The Latin suffix is not etymologically connected with able, but it long has been popularly associated with it, and this has contributed to its survival as a living suffix. It is related to the second syllable of rudder and saddle.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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able in Technology

language
A simple language for accountants.
["ABLE, The Accounting Language, Programming and Reference Manual," Evansville Data Proc Center, Evansville, IN, Mar 1975].
[Listed in SIGPLAN Notices 13(11):56 (Nov 1978)].
(1994-11-08)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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Related Abbreviations for able

ABLE

Association for Biology Laboratory Education
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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