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[stey-buh l] /ˈsteɪ bəl/
a building for the lodging and feeding of horses, cattle, etc.
such a building with stalls.
a collection of animals housed in such a building.
Horse Racing.
  1. an establishment where racehorses are kept and trained.
  2. the horses belonging to, or the persons connected with, such an establishment.
  1. a number of people, usually in the same profession, who are employed, trained, or represented by the same company, agency, manager, etc.:
    a comedy show with a large stable of writers.
  2. the establishment that trains or manages such a group of people:
    two boxers from the same stable.
  3. a collection of items produced by or belonging to an establishment, industry, profession, or the like:
    The American auto industry has some new small cars in its stable.
verb (used with object), stabled, stabling.
to put or lodge in or as if in a stable.
verb (used without object), stabled, stabling.
to live in or as if in a stable.
1200-50; Middle English stable < Old French estable < Latin stabulum standing room, equivalent to sta-, stem of stāre to stand + -bulum noun suffix denoting place
Related forms
stablelike, adjective
unstabled, adjective
1. barn, mews. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for stables
  • Belle sneaked out to take a look around the stables where she was discovered by perdy.
  • Their private houses must be destroyed and devastated, they could be lodged in stables.
  • The latter housed the domestic quarters, stables, stores, a forge and a water well.
British Dictionary definitions for stables


a building, usually consisting of stalls, for the lodging of horses or other livestock
the animals lodged in such a building, collectively
  1. the racehorses belonging to a particular establishment or owner
  2. the establishment itself
  3. (as modifier): stable companion
(informal) a source of training, such as a school, theatre, etc: the two athletes were out of the same stable
a number of people considered as a source of a particular talent: a stable of writers
(modifier) of, relating to, or suitable for a stable: stable manners
to put, keep, or be kept in a stable
Word Origin
C13: from Old French estable cowshed, from Latin stabulum shed, from stāre to stand


steady in position or balance; firm
lasting or permanent: a stable relationship
steadfast or firm of purpose
(of an elementary particle, atomic nucleus, etc) not undergoing decay; not radioactive: a stable nuclide
(of a chemical compound) not readily partaking in a chemical change
(of electronic equipment) with no tendency to self-oscillation
Derived Forms
stableness, noun
stably, adverb
Word Origin
C13: from Old French estable, from Latin stabilis steady, from stāre to stand
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 stables



"building where horses or cows are kept," early 13c., "building for domestic animals," from Old French estable "a stable, stall" (also applied to cowsheds and pigsties), from Latin stabulum "a stall, fold, aviary, etc." literally "a standing place," from stem of stare "to stand" (see stet).

Meaning "collection of horses belonging to one stable is attested from 1570s; transferred sense of "group of fighters under same management" is from 1897; that of "group of prostitutes working for the same employer" is from 1937.

For what the grete Stiede
Is stole, thanne he taketh hiede,
And makth the stable dore fast.
[John Gower, "Confessio Amantis," 1390]


"steadfast, firm," mid-13c., from Old French estable, from Latin stabilis "firm, steadfast," literally "able to stand," from stem of stare "to stand" (see stet). Physical sense of "secure against falling" is recorded from late 14c. Of nuclear isotopes, from 1904.


"to put (a horse) in a stable," early 14c., from stable (n.). Related: Stabled; stabling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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stables in Medicine

stable sta·ble (stā'bəl)
adj. sta·bler, sta·blest

  1. Resistant to change of position or condition.

  2. Not subject to mental illness or irrationality.

  3. Having no known mode of decay; indefinitely long-lived. Used of atomic particles.

  4. Not easily decomposed or otherwise modified chemically.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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stables in Science
  1. Not susceptible to a process of decay, such as radioactivity. For example, the most common isotope of carbon, carbon 12, is stable. Protons and photons are examples of stable subatomic particles. See more at decay.

  2. Relating to a chemical compound that does not easily decompose or change into other compounds. Water is an example of a stable compound.

  3. Relating to an atom or chemical element that is unlikely to share electrons with another atom or element.

  4. Not likely to change significantly or to deteriorate suddenly, as an individual's medical condition.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for stables



A try; crack, shot, whack: Well, I'll have a stab at it (1895+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with stables
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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