Words related to -ible


common termination and word-forming element of English adjectives (typically based on verbs) and generally adding a notion of "capable of; allowed; worthy of; requiring; to be ______ed," sometimes "full of, causing," from French -able and directly from Latin -abilis. It is properly -ble, from Latin -bilis (the vowel being generally from the stem ending of the verb being suffixed), and it represents PIE *-tro-, a suffix used to form nouns of instrument, cognate with the second syllables of English rudder and saddle (n.).

A living element in English, used in new formations from either Latin or native words (readable, bearable) and also with nouns (objectionable, peaceable). Sometimes with an active signification (suitable, capable), sometimes of neutral signification (durable, conformable). It has become very elastic in meaning, as in a reliable witness, a playable foul ball, perishable goods. A 17c. writer has cadaverable "mortal."

To take a single example in detail, no-one but a competent philologist can tell whether reasonable comes from the verb or the noun reason, nor whether its original sense was that can be reasoned out, or that can reason, or that can be reasoned with, or that has reason, or that listens to reason, or that is consistent with reason; the ordinary man knows only that it can now mean any of these, & justifiably bases on these & similar facts a generous view of the termination's capabilities; credible meaning for him worthy of credence, why should not reliable & dependable mean worthy of reliance & dependence? [Fowler]

In Latin, -abilis and -ibilis depended on the inflectional vowel of the verb. Hence the variant form -ible in Old French, Spanish, English. In English, -able tends to be used with native (and other non-Latin) words, -ible with words of obvious Latin origin (but there are exceptions). The Latin suffix is not etymologically connected with able, but it long has been popularly associated with it, and this probably has contributed to its vigor as a living suffix.

collapsible (adj.)

"capable of collapsing, made so as to collapse," 1842, alternative spelling of collapsable; see collapse (v.) + -ible.

collectible (adj.)

also collectable, 1650s, "that may be collected," from collect + -ible. Meaning "sought-after by collectors of relics, souveniers, etc." is recorded from 1888.

comprehendible (adj.)

1814, from comprehend + -ible. A rare native formation alongside the more usual comprehensible.

deductible (adj.)

1856, "capable of being withdrawn," especially from one's taxes or income, with -ible + Latin deducere "lead down, derive" (in Medieval Latin, "infer logically"), from de "down" (see de-) + ducere "to lead" (from PIE root *deuk- "to lead"). As a noun, "amount of a loss which must be borne by the policy-holder in an insurance claim," by 1927. The older adjective is deducible (1610s).

impartible (adj.)

late 14c. as "indivisible, incapable of being parted," from Medieval Latin impartibilis; see im- "not, opposite of" + part (v.). From 1630s as "capable of being imparted," from impart (v.) + -ible. Now little used in either sense.

irrepressible (adj.)

"not able to be controlled or restrained," 1763, from assimilated form of in- (1) "not, opposite of" + repress (v.) + -ible.

Increase of population, which is filling the States out to their very borders, together with a new and extended network of railroads and other avenues, and an internal commerce which daily becomes more intimate, is rapidly bringing the States into a higher and more perfect social unity or consolidation. Thus, these antagonistic systems are continually coming into closer contact, and collision results.
Shall I tell you what this collision means? They who think that it is accidental, unnecessary, the work of interested or fanatical agitators, and therefor ephemeral, mistake the case altogether. It is an irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring forces, and it means that the United States must and will, sooner or later, become either entirely a slaveholding nation, or entirely a free-labor nation. [William H. Seward, speech at Rochester, N.Y., Oct. 2, 1858]

Related: Irrepressibly. "Common Sense" (1777) has unrepressible.

negligible (adj.)

"capable of being neglected, admitting of being disregarded," 1819, from negligence + -ible. Related: Negligibly; negligibility.

perfectible (adj.)

"capable of being made or becoming perfect," 1630s; see perfect (adj.) + -ible. Related: Perfectibility.