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SUFFIXES. -er; -en; -ive; -ble; -less

-Ive, -ble. (See 3.) -Ive is sometimes used in a passive instead of, as now, in an active signification. Thus: "Incomprehensive depths;" "plausive," "worthy to be applauded;" "directive," "capable of being directed;" "insuppressive metal;" "the fair, the inexpressive she" (similarly used by Milton in the Hymn on the Nativity). On the other hand, -ble is sometimes used actively, as in "medicinable" (which is also used passively), and in "unmeritable."

“This is a slight unmeritable man.

So "defensible," "deceivable," "disputable," and "tenable."

In "Intenible sieve," A. W. i. 2. 208, not only does -ble convey an active meaning, but Shakespeare uses the Latin instead of the English form of the termination, just as we still write "terrible," not "terrable." I imagine we have been influenced in our -able by the accidental coincidence of meaning between the word "able" and the termination -ble. But French influence must have had some weight.

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