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[key-puh-buh l] /ˈkeɪ pə bəl/
having power and ability; efficient; competent:
a capable instructor.
capable of,
  1. having the ability or capacity for:
    a man capable of judging art.
  2. open to the influence or effect of; susceptible of:
    a situation capable of improvement.
  3. predisposed to; inclined to:
    capable of murder.
Origin of capable
1555-65; < Late Latin capābilis roomy, apparently equivalent to cap(āx) roomy + -ābilis able; see capacity
Related forms
capableness, noun
capably, adverb
overcapable, adjective
quasi-capable, adjective
quasi-capably, adverb
supercapable, adjective
supercapableness, noun
supercapably, adverb
1. skillful, ingenious, accomplished. See able. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for capable
  • Radio waves, although capable of going through the human body, have an energy too low to damage it.
  • It's easy to play yet capable of great subtlety; a skillful player can make notes bend and quiver and sigh.
  • The problem with this attitude is that women are not thought to be capable of anything else other than motherhood, by society.
  • The baby birds are capable of feeding themselves upon hatching.
  • They grew into adults, capable of reproducing every 55 days and during all seasons of the year.
  • This story of the capable Hugh, told in a rhythmic text that hurries along like the hero, is a read-aloud natural.
  • Applicants must have administrative and organizing ability and be capable of controlling a large staff.
  • Now these remote health monitors are becoming even more sophisticated and capable of being used in the most extreme conditions.
  • She's an intelligent, capable woman who has grown up in a competitive and highly deadly atmosphere.
  • And, most important, it was becoming clear that they were capable of sending up heavier payloads — like a nuclear warhead.
British Dictionary definitions for capable


having ability, esp in many different fields; competent
(postpositive) foll by of. able or having the skill (to do something): she is capable of hard work
(postpositive) foll by of. having the temperament or inclination (to do something): he seemed capable of murder
Derived Forms
capableness, noun
capably, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from French, from Late Latin capābilis able to take in, from Latin capere to take
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 capable

1560s, from Middle French capable or directly from Late Latin capabilis "receptive; able to grasp or hold," used by theologians, from Latin capax "able to hold much, broad, wide, roomy;" also "receptive, fit for;" adjectival form of capere "to grasp, lay hold, take, catch; undertake; take in, hold; be large enough for; comprehend," from PIE *kap- "to grasp" (cf. Sanskrit kapati "two handfuls;" Greek kaptein "to swallow, gulp down;" Lettish kampiu "seize;" Old Irish cacht "servant-girl," literally "captive;" Welsh caeth "captive, slave;" Gothic haban "have, hold;" Old English hæft "handle," habban "to have, hold," Modern English have). Related: Capably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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