9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[uh-poh-zuh-buh l] /əˈpoʊ zə bəl/
capable of being placed opposite to something else:
the opposable thumb of primates.
capable of being resisted, fought, or opposed.
Origin of opposable
1660-70; oppose + -able
Related forms
opposability, noun
nonopposable, adjective
unopposable, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for opposable
  • Without opposable thumbs, none of this would have ever been possible.
  • Maisie's lack of opposable thumbs apparently does not preclude her ability to create a moniker all on her own.
  • Besides being helpful in themselves, opposable thumbs are valuable in that they allow us to use other, more complicated tools.
  • Elsewhere, adroitness of thumb has even manifested itself in contests of opposable dexterity.
  • Our ability to process and communicate information is as much an evolutionary advantage as our opposable thumbs.
  • You'd think the lack of opposable thumbs would hinder its tweeting ability.
  • They also have cheek pouches and a fully opposable thumb.
  • Two vanes were constructed using a tracked backhoe with an opposable thumb.
  • For example, they do not have hands with flexible fingers, especially your extremely helpful opposable thumbs.
  • Tracks will show an opposable thumb on the rear feet.
British Dictionary definitions for opposable


capable of being opposed
Also apposable. (of the thumb of primates, esp man) capable of being moved into a position facing the other digits so as to be able to touch the ends of each
capable of being placed opposite something else
Derived Forms
opposably, adverb
opposability, noun
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 opposable

1660s, "capable of being withstood," from oppose + -able. In reference to human thumbs, from 1833. Related: Opposability.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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