unable [uhn-ey-buh l] SynonymsExamplesWord Originadjective
- lacking the necessary power, competence, etc., to accomplish some specified act: He was unable to swim.
Origin of unable Middle English word dating back to 1350–1400; see origin at un-1, able Synonyms for unable See incapable. Related Words for unable weak, impotent, unfit, incapable, inadequate, helpless, powerless, clumsy, incapacitated, incompetent, ineffectual, inefficacious, inefficient, inept, inoperative, unqualified, unskilled, impuissant, unfitted Examples from the Web for unable Contemporary Examples of unable
That man was Xavier Cortada, a gay man who wrote of his frustration that he and his partner of eight years were unable to marry.
January 9, 2015
Those opposing same-sex marriage are on their heels, and increasingly unwilling or unable to make a stand against it.
January 6, 2015
But at this stage, he is either afraid or unable to get carried away by his thoughts.
January 5, 2015
Lee would stay up late, unable to sleep from the pains he had in his back.
January 3, 2015
In the name of protecting passengers, however, tourists in Las Vegas are unable to take advantage of this service.
Adam Thierer, Christopher Koopman
December 30, 2014
Historical Examples of unable
Still he reflected that he would be unable to get out, and in the morning he could go for the constable.
That he was unable to do, even if it were true, which he doubted.
Harry Leon Wilson
All this had happened so quickly that Will was unable to hinder it.
Charles G. D. Roberts
“Then come and dine here,” said Dick, unable to refuse a neighbour hospitality.
William J. Locke
She lay looking about her, unable for the moment to remember where she was.
Jessie Graham Flower
British Dictionary definitions for unable unable adjective
- (postpositive foll by to) lacking the necessary power, ability, or authority (to do something); not able
- archaic incompetent
Word Origin and History for unable adj.