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Alternative forms[edit]


solve +‎ -able. Doublet of soluble.



  1. Capable of being solved.
    Synonym: soluble
    Antonyms: unsolvable, insolvable, insoluble
    a solvable problem
    • 1677, Matthew Hale, The Primitive Origination of Mankind, London: William Shrowsbery, “De homine,” Chapter 2, p. 56,[2]
      Intellective Memory, which I call an act of the intellective faculty because it is wrought by it, though I do not inquire how or where, because it is not solvible:
    • 1732, Henry Home, Lord Kames, Essays upon Several Subjects in Law, Edinburgh, “Beneficium cedendarum actionum,” p. 19,[3]
      Questions of this Nature may be easily solvable in the simple Cases.
    • 1856, Abraham Lincoln, Speech delivered before the first Republican State Convention of Illinois, Bloomington, 29 May, 1856, in Arthur Brooks Lapsley (ed.), The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, New York: The Lamb Publishing Company, Volume 2, p. 271,[4]
      It is a very strange thing, and not solvable by any moral law that I know of, that if a man loses his horse, the whole country will turn out to help hang the thief; but if a man but a shade or two darker than I am is himself stolen, the same crowd will hang one who aids in restoring him to liberty.
    • 1886, Thomas Hardy, The Mayor of Casterbridge, London: Smith, Elder, Volume 1, Chapter 17, p. 211,[5]
      Would Mr. Farfrae stay in Casterbridge despite his words and her father’s dismissal? His occult breathings to her might be solvable by his course in that respect.
    • 2010, Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question, New York: Bloomsbury, Part 1, Chapter 4, p. 97,[6]
      This is a mystery that is solvable with a phone call.
  2. (obsolete) Capable of being dissolved or liquefied.
    Synonym: soluble
    Antonyms: unsolvable, insolvable, insoluble
    • 1664, John Chandler (translator), Van Helmont’s Works, London: Lodowick Lloyd, A Treatise of Fevers, Chapter 8, p. 971,[7]
      [] they administer Pearles, and Corrals being beaten to dust or dissolved in distilled vinegar, or the juice of limons, and again dryed, and solvable in any potable liquour:
  3. (obsolete) Able to pay one's debts.
    Synonym: solvent
    • 1655, Thomas Fuller, The Church-History of Britain, London: John Williams, Section 4, p. 131,[8]
      [] although imprisonment was imposed by law on persons not solvable, yet officers were unwilling to cast them into goale,
    • 1703, John Dennis, A Proposal for Putting a Speedy End to the War, London: Daniel Brown and Andrew Bell, p. 19,[9]
      The Government is solvable in case of Loss, whereas private Men often fail;
  4. (obsolete, rare) Capable of being paid and discharged.[1]
    solvable obligations

Related terms[edit]



  1. ^ Webster’s International Dictionary of the English Language, Springfield, MA: G. & C. Merriam, 1907, Volume 2, p. 1370,[1]



From Latin solvere with -able.


solvable (plural solvables)

  1. solvent

Further reading[edit]