In French, we have the word "dessinable" which is an adjective for something that can be "dessiné" or in English that can be drawn.

However, when I search the term "drawable" in Cambridge dictionary I don't find any input. Same for "drawnable"

Surprisingly, on Google, my result for drawable is:

A Drawable is a general abstraction for "something that can be drawn."
Most often you will deal with Drawable as the type of resource retrieved for drawing things to the screen

With the part "something that can be drawn" matching the adjective that I'm looking for but the website is related to a Java Class Object for Android which is quite restricted to programming langages!

Does English have not a word for "something that can be drawn"?

  • 4
    Besides drawable = capable of being sketched / represented pictorially, there's the sense involved in drawable funds - money held in a bank account or similar, which can be [with]drawn and spent. Not to mention drawable wire, with various senses centring on draw = pull [tight], as in drawstrings. Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 16:32
  • As the other answers and comments say, this is a legitimate English word. It's hard to say out loud, which makes it a little awkward on the page too. Commented Feb 23, 2021 at 18:28
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    Though in computer graphics, a drawable is usually an abstraction for something that can be drawn upon, such as a computer screen, a window on a display, or an image in memory. See e.g. documentation for the X Window system.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 2:33
  • In Java, there's a long standing convention to name interfaces (vs. a class) by appending "-able" to the name. This is often done regardless of whether or not the word would be idomatic english. All of this is to say you'll probably often find "words" in that community that are nonstandard.
    – Kirk Woll
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 13:57

2 Answers 2


English is fairly flexible and open to the creation of 'new' words and compound words from familiar prefixes and suffixes, "-able" being one such example.

A Google search finds quite a lot of results for "drawable", some of which refer to its use in technical jargon, but while it may not have been inducted in dictionaries like Cambridge, it has made its way into the Free Dictionary with the definition "capable of being drawn". I can confirm that, upon reading the word, this is the meaning that it conveyed to me.

Caution should be applied when creating non-dictionary words this way - not all words would take this suffix and make sense; also, there may be existing words accepted into the dictionary that would negate the need for a 'new' one. For example, "tasteable" sounds ridiculous, as everything would be capable of being tasted. Likewise, "toleratable" would be incorrect as we have the word "tolerable".

Also note that the perceived meaning of 'drawable' may not be all that your French equivalent means. For example, if someone was described as "kissable", dictionaries define this as "inviting kissing through being lovable or physically attractive", so that particular word means more than just "capable" of being kissed, but not every word with the -able suffix carries this meaning - most just mean that something is possible. If you are looking for a word to say that something is so aesthetically pleasing it 'invites' you to want to draw it, then 'drawable' may not convey this.

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    I have to take issue with the last sentence. Eatable has a subtly different meaning to edible. Edible refers to something that's safe to eat - paper is edible, lead is not. Eatable refers to whether the item might actually be enjoyed when ingested. Paper is edible, but it's not particularly eatable.
    – Ben R.
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 9:51
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    @BenR. Thanks, I honestly didn't think 'eatable' was an accepted dictionary word. I've found a better example.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 9:54
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    Nope, eatable is a perfectly acceptable word. It's effectively synonymous with palatable.
    – Ben R.
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 14:09
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    how is tasteable not a valid word? if I put a tiny amount of sugar in water, it is not tasteable.
    – qwr
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 1:22
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    I thought untasteablity was one of the metrics of being a good poison? You don't want something that tastes odd and will be spat out before being ingested. If you're an evil assassin that is...
    – user117065
    Commented Feb 25, 2021 at 1:35

A search in Google Ngram confirms it is in use, and has been since at least the mid 1800s. Here is just one example: Proceedings of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society - Volume 1.

Note that while in the reference given, the meaning of the root, “draw”, is to sketch or make a representation with pen or pencil on paper, etc, there are at least two other meanings of draw which some of the other Ngram hits showed.

One is the pulling of metal through a hole in a die to make wire; the other is the taking of some money from a bank or other such account — e.g. ”I will draw down the loan to tomorrow, so we should have the cash available by close of business.” In both of those meanings, the derivative “drawable” is also a valid word.

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