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unable definition

Overview

This page has two definitions of unable in English. Unable is an adjective and verb. Examples of how to use unable in a sentence are shown. Also define these 4 related words and terms: able, ability, render, and disable.

English

Pronunciation

Etymology 1

From Middle English unable, unabel, unhable, unhabil, equivalent to un- +‎ able.

Adjective

unable (comparative unabler or more unable, superlative unablest or most unable)

  1. Not able; lacking a certain ability.
    • 2011 December 21, Tom Rostance, “Fulham 0-5 Man Utd”, in BBC Sport:
      Fulham switched off as Giggs took a quick corner to Valencia. He played it back to Giggs, whose cross was headed in by Nani with the lurking Rooney unable to add a touch.
    • 2013 June 28, Joris Luyendijk, “Our banks are out of control”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 3, page 21:
      Seeing the British establishment struggle with the financial sector is like watching an alcoholic […].  Until 2008 there was denial over what finance had become. […]  But the scandals kept coming, […]. A broad section of the political class now recognises the need for change but remains unable to see the necessity of a fundamental overhaul.
    Are you unable to mind your own business or something?
Antonyms
Translations

Etymology 2

From Middle English unablen, equivalent to un- +‎ able.

Verb

unable (third-person singular simple present unables, present participle unabling, simple past and past participle unabled)

  1. (transitive, nonstandard) To render unable; disable

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