-able: used to form adjectives derived directly from Latin verbs ending in -ire or -ere: divisible, legible
Origin of -ibleClassical Latin -ibilis
Variant of -able
- An adjective suffix, now usually in a passive sense; forms adjectives meaning:
- able to be
- relevant or suitable to, in accordance with
- expressing capacity or worthiness in a passive sense
- The form -able is used in the same sense and is pronounced the same.
- Generally not productive in English – most words ending in -ible are borrowed from Latin, or Old or Middle French, while -able is more common for producing new words. Examples of production in English include collectible.
- In general, forms derived from Latin verbs of the second, third, and fourth conjugations take -ible, as well as a few words whose roots end in a soft c or g. All other words take -able, particularly words from the Latin first conjugation, words that evolved through French, and words from Anglo-Saxon.
- Fowler, in his English Usage, recommended using -ible for simplicity in spelling with any verb whose root ends in a soft c or g (such as changible vs. changeable), but this recommendation has generally not been followed.
- A few words end in “ible” but are not related to this suffix, instead being of different origin, generally a similar Latin suffix. Examples include crucible and mandible.
From Middle English, from Old French, from Latin -ibilis