Alternate spelling - "cachability" (seems perhaps less popular/proper)

In Computer Science, the word "cache" is used in a specific sense to mean a place (usually in a specific memory location) where looked up values are stored temporarily so that they can be retrieved more quickly on the next request for them.

In web development, we cache pages or pieces of code, images, etc. in order to be able to serve more requests and take load off of application servers (ie, prevent the slashdot effect).

And so we talk about "caching" this page or this data, how to make data or pages "cacheable", and finally about the overall "cacheability" of certain pages or structures or apps.

For example:

"We need to evaluate the cacheability of our index page."

meaning something like

"We need to see how cacheable the index page is and to what degree."

The only problem is, the word cacheability isn't really a word... is it?

Is this a technical term that some computer folks are throwing around? Have they invented a new word? I'd be pedantic and say "it's not a word" and we're just using it wrong - go with cacheable and reform your sentences - but I know that not one of my coworkers would bat an eye if I were to use "cacheability" in a sentence, so it seems that it's meaning is clear in certain contexts and can express an idea that "cacheable" doesn't necessarily do as succinctly.

  • I am unsure - But I might agree. Microsoft (MSDN) and open Source projects too have been using same word "cacheability". I think it does impart intended meaning and has become acceptable in tech community
    – alpa
    Jun 8, 2015 at 16:09
  • 2
    Dictionaries don't so much define usage as reflect it. The word is regularly-formed and easily understood in context by people who've never encountered it before. In my book (not a dictionary! :) that makes it a "word". Jun 8, 2015 at 16:09
  • Setting the Cacheability of a Page: msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/w9s3a17d%28v=vs.140%29.aspx
    – user66974
    Jun 8, 2015 at 16:09
  • You might ask also here: stackoverflow.com/questions/11204916/…
    – user66974
    Jun 8, 2015 at 16:12
  • 2
    It appears that as a technical term it has been used since the '80's. books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – user66974
    Jun 8, 2015 at 16:24

1 Answer 1


-ability (with adjective counterpart -able) is a productive suffix for verbs in English. That means you can pretty much attach it onto any verb and also why dictionaries tend to include suffixes in addition to base words. Without the suffix entries, they'd need to include every single possible version of a word and your dictionary would weigh a metric ton.

More often than not, these suffixed forms will appear in their own entries when they have lexicalized and acquired meanings that are not entirely predictable from the baseword and suffix. (same goes for prefixes and prefixed forms).

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