Effable vs affable

Photo of author


Effable and affable are two words that are very close in pronunciation and spelling and are often confused. We will examine the definitions of effable and affable, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Effable describes an idea or concept that may be expressed in words. Effable is an adjective, but it is rarely used. The antonym of effable, ineffable, is used much more frequently. Ineffable describes something that is too overwhelming or sacred to be described in mere words. The word effable is derived from the Latin word effabilis, which means capable of being uttered.

Affable describes someone who is friendly, agreeable, easy to get along with and pleasant to engage in conversation. Affable is an adjective, related words are affably, affability. The word affable is derived from the Latin word affabilis, which means approachable, friendly, kind.


This week, let’s see how two poets living in the same mid-sized town in the Pacific Northwest tackle some of life’s intangibles and try to make them somewhat more effable.(The Kitsap Sun)

Rinaldi has taken what often feel like shameful confessional sentiments of women in the “can women have it all” age and blown them up so they finally feel life-size and effable. (The Michigan Daily)

He had an air of defeat about him, his face like a funeral barge, his bearing expressing an ineffable sorrow that this — the airport, the holiday crowds, middle-age, human evolution — should have to happen to him.(The Evening Standard)

It was his first ever visit to Kansas, and he proved to be an affable chap, telling stories from the stage about his six-decade career, joking, reading fans’ signs aloud, even playfully shaking his backside as the camera zoomed in, projecting it on to the massive vertical screens on either side of the stage. (The Wichita Eagle)

Music writers the world over have speculated on how the affable Brit pulls it off. (The Calgary Herald)