-able

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See also: able

English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (US) IPA(key): /ə.bl̩/
  • (file)

Suffix[edit]

-able

  1. An adjectival suffix; forms adjectives meaning:
    1. Able to be done; fit to be done.
      movable: able to be moved
      amendable: able to be amended
      breakable: liable to broken
      blamable: fit to be blamed
      salable: fit to be sold
    2. Relevant to or suitable to, in accordance with.
      fashionable: relevant to fashion
      seasonable: suitable to season
    3. Giving, or inclined to.
      pleasurable: giving pleasure
      peaceable: inclined to peace
    4. Subject to.
      reportable: subject to be reported
      taxable: subject to be taxed
    5. Due to be.
      payable: due to pay

Usage notes[edit]

  • Originally appeared only on French and Latin words, like separable. Over time -able was added to stems of English verbs ending in -ate, such as educable. Finally, due to probable confusion with the word able, it was used to form adjectives from all sorts of verbs, nouns, and even verb phrases, such as kickable, get-at-able, and hittable.
  • A terminal silent -e is often dropped when adding -able, but for roots ending with a soft -ce or -ge, such as replaceable and changeable, the -e is kept so that these are not misinterpreted as hard ‘c’ or ‘g’ sounds. Similar spelling patterns apply to some other suffixes beginning with a vowel, such as -ous in famous vs. courageous.
  • The final consonant of a root is doubled in the same contexts as when adding the suffix -ed. In general, this means doubling occurs when the preceding vowel is short and stressed (as in winnable) but not when it is long (as in obtainable) or unstressed (as in openable). In British English, a final L is typically doubled after a short vowel regardless of whether the vowel is stressed or unstressed (as in compellable, modellable). In American English, final L typically follows the same rules as other consonants (as in compellable, modelable). These are the general trends, but there is some variation within British and American English between these two methods of doubling final L.
  • The form -ible has the same senses and pronunciation. The choice between the two is somewhat idiosyncratic, but in general, -ible is used in forms derived from Latin verbs of the second, third, and fourth conjugations, and in a few words whose roots end in a soft c or g, while -able is used in all other words, particularly those formed from Latin verbs of the first conjugation and those that come from French or from Anglo-Saxon (Old English). Fowler's English Usage recommends using -ible for simplicity's sake in any word whose root ends in a soft c or g to avoid -eable (e.g., *changible rather than changeable), but this recommendation has generally not been followed.
  • A number of adjectives in -able come from verbs that do not have direct objects, but that rather are construed with prepositions. In these cases, the preposition does not appear with the adjective in -able; hence, reliable (fit to being relied on), laughable (suited for laughing at), remarkable (fit to be remarked upon), and so on.
  • Traditionally, verbs ending in -ate drop this suffix before adding -able; hence, communicable (able to be communicated), eradicable (possible to eradicate), implacable (unable to be placated), inimitable (unable to imitate), and so on, but relatable, because relate is re- + -late, not rel- + -ate. Logically one should therefore say rotable to mean "able to be rotated", but rotatable has become accepted.
  • There are cases where a word with un- -able is much more common than one with just -able, such as unbreakable, unsinkable, and untouchable.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Anagrams[edit]


Catalan[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Latin -ābilis.

Pronunciation[edit]

Suffix[edit]

-able (masculine and feminine plural -ables)

  1. -able

Usage notes[edit]

This suffix is used for verbs of the first conjugation, which end in -ar and are the most common. For other verbs, the suffix is -ible.

Derived terms[edit]


French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle French -able, from Old French -able, from Latin -ābilis.

Pronunciation[edit]

Suffix[edit]

-able (plural -ables)

  1. -able

Derived terms[edit]


Galician[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Latin -ābilis.

Suffix[edit]

-able

  1. -able

Derived terms[edit]


Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from Old French -able, from Latin -ābilis.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /-ˈaːbəl/, /-ˈaːblə/

Suffix[edit]

-able

  1. Forming adjectives denoting ability, relevance or inclination; -able.

Derived terms[edit]

Descendants[edit]

  • English: -able
  • Scots: -able

References[edit]


Middle French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old French -able, from Latin -ābilis.

Suffix[edit]

-able (plural -ables)

  1. -able

Descendants[edit]


Norwegian Bokmål[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Suffix[edit]

-able

  1. singular definite & plural form of -abel

Anagrams[edit]


Old French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Latin -ābilis.

Suffix[edit]

-able (plural -ables)

  1. worthy of, deserving of
    honorer (to honor) + ‎-able → ‎honnorable (honorable)
  2. -ing, creating an effect, an influence
    forsener (to become insane or enraged) + ‎-able → ‎forsenable (maddening)

Descendants[edit]


Spanish[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old Spanish, from Latin -ābilis.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ˈable/, [ˈa.β̞le]

Suffix[edit]

-able (plural -ables)

  1. -able

Derived terms[edit]