Definition of SABLE

SABLE Noun and Adjective

Sable can function as both a noun and an adjective. As a noun, it refers to a small carnivorous mammal known for its luxurious fur, which is highly valued in the fashion industry. As an adjective, it describes something that is of a dark, black color, often used in a poetic or literary context.

SABLE as a noun

As a noun, sable refers to a species of marten, Martes zibellina, native to the forests of Russia and parts of Asia. The animal’s fur is dark, rich, and silky, making it one of the most prized furs in the world. For example, “She wore a coat made of sable.”

SABLE as an adjective

As an adjective, sable describes something that is black or very dark in color. This usage is often found in literary or poetic descriptions, evoking a sense of elegance or somberness. For example, “The night sky was sable, dotted with distant stars.”

Historical Significance: The sable fur trade has a long history, particularly in Russia, where it has been a symbol of wealth and status for centuries. The fur was used by royalty and the elite, often found in luxurious garments and accessories. The hunting and trading of sable were significant aspects of the economy in regions where the animal was found.

Fashion and Luxury: In the fashion industry, sable fur remains one of the most luxurious and expensive materials. Its softness, warmth, and sheen make it highly desirable for high-end clothing and accessories. Designers often use sable fur to create opulent coats, stoles, and hats that are symbols of elegance and affluence.

Ecological and Conservation Concerns: The high demand for sable fur has led to concerns about overhunting and the impact on sable populations. Conservation efforts are in place to ensure sustainable hunting practices and protect the species from becoming endangered. These efforts balance the economic benefits of the fur trade with the need to preserve wildlife.

Sable in Literature and Art: The term sable is frequently used in literature and art to convey deep, rich blackness. It often appears in descriptions of night, mourning, or anything that evokes darkness and mystery. This literary use adds a layer of sophistication and depth to the word, enhancing its descriptive power.

Symbolism of Sable: As a symbol, sable represents luxury, elegance, and the fine line between opulence and ethical considerations. Its use in language and fashion underscores themes of wealth, status, and the natural beauty of wildlife. The color sable, in its adjective form, can symbolize darkness, mystery, and the unknown.

In conclusion, sable is a versatile word functioning as both a noun and an adjective, with rich meanings in natural, historical, cultural, and literary contexts. As a noun, it denotes a valuable animal known for its prized fur, while as an adjective, it describes a deep, black color. Understanding the various implications of sable highlights its significance in fashion, literature, and conservation, symbolizing both luxury and the beauty of the natural world.

Examples of SABLE in a sentence

SABLE as a noun in a sentence

  • The artist used a fine sable brush for delicate details in the painting.
  • The fur coat was made from luxurious Russian sable.
  • Sable is highly prized for its softness and warmth.
  • The sable is a small carnivorous mammal native to parts of Europe and Asia.
  • Hunters once sought sable for its valuable fur.
  • The sable‘s thick coat provides insulation in cold climates.
  • Sable fur has been a status symbol for centuries.
  • The sable‘s fur changes color depending on the season.

SABLE as an adjective in a sentence

  • She wore a sable fur coat to the gala.
  • The artist’s sable brush glided smoothly across the canvas.
  • Sable fur is known for its luxurious softness.
  • The sable coat kept her warm in the winter chill.
  • The sable-haired paintbrush is perfect for fine details.
  • The sable pelt gleamed in the sunlight.
  • Sable fur coats were once a symbol of wealth and status.
  • The sable fur hat was a family heirloom.

Origin of SABLE

The term sable embarks on a linguistic journey, reflecting its origins in natural history, trade, and cultural symbolism. Rooted in Old French and Latin influences, it has evolved into a noun that denotes a species of carnivorous mammal prized for its fur, as well as a color associated with dark brown or black hues.

  • Old French and Latin Roots: The term sable originates from the Old French “sable” or “zibelin,” derived from the Latin “zibellinus,” which referred to the fur of the sable marten (Martes zibellina). The Latin word “zibellinus” itself may have been borrowed from a Turkic or Slavic language.
  • Natural History Significance: The sable marten, native to forested regions of northern Eurasia, has long been valued for its luxurious fur, which is soft, dense, and highly prized in the fur trade. Sable fur, known for its rich color and silky texture, has been used historically in the creation of garments, accessories, and ceremonial robes.
  • Cultural Symbolism: In European heraldry and symbolism, the term sable is associated with the color black, represented by a heraldic tincture of the same name. Sable is considered one of the standard colors in heraldry, symbolizing constancy, wisdom, and solemnity. In this context, the term reflects the enduring significance of heraldic traditions in European culture.
  • Fashion and Design: Beyond its natural history and symbolic associations, sable has influenced fashion, design, and luxury industries. Sable fur remains highly coveted among affluent consumers and fashion enthusiasts for its rarity, exclusivity, and association with opulence and prestige.
  • Conservation Concerns: Due to overhunting and habitat loss, sable martens have faced conservation challenges in their native range. Efforts to regulate the fur trade and protect sable habitats have been undertaken to ensure the long-term survival of this species and mitigate the impact of human activities on wild populations.

Sable stands as a term that embodies the intersection of natural history, commerce, and cultural symbolism. From its Old French and Latin roots to its modern-day applications in fashion, heraldry, and wildlife conservation, the term reflects humanity’s complex relationship with the natural world and the enduring allure of luxury and prestige.


  • Ebony
  • Inky
  • Coal
  • Raven
  • Jet
  • Sable
  • Pitch
  • Noir


  • Ivory
  • White
  • Light
  • Bright
  • Alabaster
  • Ivory-colored
  • Pale
  • Silver


  • Dark
  • Shadowy
  • Black
  • Glossy
  • Shimmer
  • Shade
  • Gloom
  • Silhouette

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