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Related to ably: ABLEY
all able-bodied people
Anyone and everyone who is able to help or contribute to a cause in some way. I'm calling on all able-bodied men and women in the area to lend a hand restoring the local church this weekend.
able to do (something) standing on (one's) head
Very adept at doing something, with very little or no difficulty; able to complete or accomplish something in a relaxed, carefree, or effortless manner. It took me a little while to get used to this job, but now I'm able do it standing on my head! You should ask Johnny for help—he's able to do this level of math standing on his head.
willing and able
A phrase used to describe someone who is ready or capable of doing something I think Nicky is finally willing and able to go back to school. It's fine, my mom is totally willing and able to lend me a few bucks.
able to get a word in edgewise
Able to speak despite other people dominating the conversation (hence the image of squeezing words in "edgewise"—sideways). Usually used in the negative. When Mary came up for air in her monologue, I was finally able to get a word in edgewise about my own weekend! The third-tier candidate wasn't able to get a word in edgewise at the debate.
able to breathe (easily) againand able to breathe (freely) again
1. Lit. able to breathe clean, fresh air with no restriction or obstruction. After I got out of the dank basement, I was able to breathe easily again.
2. Fig. able to relax and recover from a busy or stressful time; able to catch one's breath. (Able to can be replaced with can.) Final exams are over, so I can breathe easily again.
able to cut something
Fig. to be able to manage or execute something. (Often negative. Able to can be replaced with can.) We thought he could handle the new account, but he is simply not able to cut it.
able to do something
to have the strength or skill to do something. (Able to can be replaced with can.) Are you able to carry those bags by yourself?
See also: able
able to do something blindfoldedand able to do something standing on one's head
Fig. able to do something very easily, possibly without even looking. (Able to can be replaced with can.) Bill boasted that he could pass his driver's test blindfolded.
able to do something with one's eyes closed
Fig. able to do something very easily, even without having to think about it or look at it. (Always affirmative. Able to can be replaced with can.) It's easy. I can do it with my eyes closed.
able to fog a mirror
Fig. Inf. alive, even if just barely. (Usually jocular. Alludes to the use of a small mirror placed under the nose to tell if a person is breathing or not. (Able to can be replaced with can.) Look, I don't need an athlete to do this job! Anybody able to fog a mirror will do fine!
able to make an event
able to attend an event. (Able to can be replaced with can.) I don't think I'll be able to make your party, but thanks for asking me.
able to take a joke
to be able to accept ridicule good-naturedly; to be able to be the object or butt of a joke willingly. (Able to can be replaced with can.) Better not tease Ann. She can't take a joke.
able to take just so muchand able to take only so much
able to endure only a limited amount of discomfort or unpleasantness. (Able to can be replaced with can.) Please stop hurting my feelings. I'm able to take just so much.
See the expressions listed at can't as well as those listed below.
not able to call one's time one's own
too busy; so busy as not to be in charge of one's own schedule. It's been so busy around here that I haven't been able to call my time my own. She can't call her time her own these days.
not able to get something for love or money
Fig. not able to get something at any price; completely unable to get something. Oranges were so scarce last winter that you couldn't get them for love or money. I wanted to go to the concert, but I was not able to get a ticket for love or money.
not able to go on
unable to continue (doing something—even living). (Not able to is often expressed as can't.) I just can't go on this way. Before her death, she left a note saying she was not able to go on.
not able to help something
unable to prevent or control something. (Not able to is often expressed as can't.) I'm sorry about being late. I wasn't able to help it. Bob can't help being boring.
not able to make anything out (of someone or something)
unable to understand someone or something. (Not able to is often expressed as can't. The anything may refer to something specific, as in the first example.) I can't make sense out of what you just said. We were not able to make anything out of the message.
not able to make head or tail of something
Fig. not able to understand something at all. I couldn't make head or tail of the professor's geology lecture this morning. Can you help me fill out my tax forms? I can't make head or tail of the instructions.
not able to see the forest for the trees
Cliché allowing many details of a situation to obscure the situation as a whole. (Not able to is often expressed as can't.) The solution is obvious. You missed it because you can't see the forest for the trees. She suddenly realized that she hadn't been able to see the forest for the trees.
not able to stomach someone or somethingand cannot stomach someone or something
Fig. not to be able to put up with someone or something; not to be able to tolerate or endure someone or something. Jane cannot stomach violent movies. The sensitive student could not stomach a lot of ridicule.
not able to wait
to have to go to the bathroom urgently. (Also more broadly literal.) Mom, I can't wait. Driver, stop the bus! My little boy can't wait.
ready, willing, and able
Cliché eager or at least willing [to do something]. If you need someone to help you move furniture, I'm ready, willing, and able. Fred is ready, willing, and able to do anything you ask him.
see under can't or under main phrase.
ready, willing, and able
Well prepared and eager to do something, as in Any time you want me to babysit, I'm ready, willing, and able.
able to cut something
tv. able to manage or execute something. (Often negative.) Do you think you’re able to cut it? He’s just not able to cut it.