a. A mustelid mammal (Martes zibellina) of northern Eurasia, having soft dark commercially valuable fur.
b. The pelt or fur of this animal.
c. The similar fur of other species of martens.
a. The color black, especially in heraldry.
b. sables Black garments worn in mourning.
3. A grayish yellowish brown.
4. A sablefish.
1. Of a grayish yellowish brown.
2. Of the color black, as in heraldry or mourning.
3. Dark; somber.
4. Of the fur of the sable: a sable coat.
[Middle English, from Old French, sable fur, from an Old Low Franconian source akin to Middle High German sabel, sable, ultimately from a Slavic source such as Old Russian sobolĭ; akin to Middle Persian samōr and Parthian simōr.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.