Hypertext Webster Gateway: "able"

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Able \A"ble\, a. [Comp. {Abler}; superl. {Ablest}.] [OF. habile,
L. habilis that may be easily held or managed, apt, skillful,
fr. habere to have, hold. Cf. {Habile} and see {Habit}.]
1. Fit; adapted; suitable. [Obs.]

A many man, to ben an abbot able. --Chaucer.

2. Having sufficient power, strength, force, skill, means, or
resources of any kind to accomplish the object; possessed
of qualifications rendering competent for some end;
competent; qualified; capable; as, an able workman,
soldier, seaman, a man able to work; a mind able to
reason; a person able to be generous; able to endure pain;
able to play on a piano.

3. Specially: Having intellectual qualifications, or strong
mental powers; showing ability or skill; talented; clever;
powerful; as, the ablest man in the senate; an able

No man wrote abler state papers. --Macaulay.

4. (Law) Legally qualified; possessed of legal competence;
as, able to inherit or devise property.


{Able for}, is Scotticism. ``Hardly able for such a march.''

Syn: Competent; qualified; fitted; efficient; effective;
capable; skillful; clever; vigorous; powerful.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

Able \A"ble\, v. t. [See {Able}, a.] [Obs.]
1. To make able; to enable; to strengthen. --Chaucer.

2. To vouch for. ``I 'll able them.'' --Shak.

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

-able \-a*ble\ (-[.a]*b'l). [F. -able, L. -abilis.]
An adjective suffix now usually in a passive sense; able to
be; fit to be; expressing capacity or worthiness in a passive
sense; as, movable, able to be moved; amendable, able to be
amended; blamable, fit to be blamed; salable.

Note: The form {-ible} is used in the same sense.

Note: It is difficult to say when we are not to use -able
instead of -ible. ``Yet a rule may be laid down as to
when we are to use it. To all verbs, then, from the
Anglo-Saxon, to all based on the uncorrupted
infinitival stems of Latin verbs of the first
conjugation, and to all substantives, whencesoever
sprung, we annex -able only.'' --Fitzed. Hall.

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

adj 1: (usually followed by `to') having the necessary means or
skill or know-how or authority to do something; "able
to swim"; "she was able to program her computer"; "we
were at last able to buy a car"; "able to get a grant
for the project" [ant: {unable}]
2: have the skills and qualifications to do things well; "able
teachers"; "a capable administrator"; "children as young
as 14 can be extremely capable and dependable" [syn: {capable}]
3: having inherent physical or mental ability or capacity;
"able to learn"; "human beings are able to walk on two
feet"; "Superman is able to leap tall buildings"
4: having a strong healthy body; "an able seaman"; "every
able-bodied young man served in the army" [syn: {able-bodied}]

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