A Dictionary of the English Language
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Able (adjective)

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 58

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 58

A'ble. adj. [habile, Fr. habilis, Lat. Skilful, ready.]

  1. Having strong faculties, or great strength or knowledge, riches, or any other power of mind, body, or fortune.

    He was not afraid of an able man, as Lewis the Eleventh was. But, contrariwise, he was served by the ablest men that were to be found; without which his affairs could not have prospered as they did. Bacon's Henry VII.

    Such other gambol faculties he hath, that shew a weak mind and an able body, for the which the prince admits him: for the prince himself is such another: the weight of an hair will turn the scales. Shakesp. Henry IV. p. ii.

  2. Having power sufficient; enabled.

    All mankind acknowledge themselves able and sufficient to do many things, which actually they never do. South's Serm.

    Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God, which he hath given thee. Deut. xvi. 17.

  3. Before a verb, with the participle to, it signifies generally having the power; before a noun, with for, it means qualified.

    Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy? Prov. xxvii. 4.

    There have been some inventions also, which have been able for the utterance of articulate sounds, as the speaking of certain words. Wilkin's Mathematical Magic.

Sources: Bacon, Francis (396) · The Bible - Deuteronomy (21) · Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 2 (72) · The Bible - Proverbs (19) · South, Robert (158) · Wilkins, John (32)

Attributes: Adjective (426) · French (385) · Latin (690)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Able (adjective)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: January 13, 2014. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=451.


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