en·​able | \ i-ˈnā-bəl How to pronounce enable (audio) \
enabled; enabling\ i-​ˈnā-​b(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce enabling (audio) \

Definition of enable

transitive verb

1a : to provide with the means or opportunity training that enables people to earn a living
b : to make possible, practical, or easy a deal that would enable passage of a new law
c : to cause to operate software that enables the keyboard
2 : to give legal power, capacity, or sanction to a law enabling admission of a state

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for enable



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Enabling: The Behavior of an Enabler

Enable has a number of senses, most of which are some variant on allowing someone (or something, such as enabling cookies on a computer) to do something. In the past several decades, enable has also started to take on a new associated sense in the field of addiction studies, where enabling is viewed as giving misguided support to a person with some substance-abuse issue. A person who facilitates the self-destructive behavior of another is referred to as an enabler.

Examples of enable in a Sentence

The machine enables us to create copies without losing quality. The system enables students to access class materials online. These choices are part of what enabled the company to be successful. a filing system that enables easy access to information Be sure to enable your computer's firewall.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Support from Russia and Iran has given Syrian President Bashar al-Assad the upper hand in the country’s nearly nine-year-long conflict, enabling him to win back most territory. NBC News, "Turkey accused of sending Syrians back to 'war zone' as conflict escalates," 8 Feb. 2020 And the revenue from such taxes also enables us to reduce current taxes on beneficial activities—like business hiring, which the payroll tax in America discourages. K.n.c., The Economist, "Open Future We can harness peer pressure to uphold social values," 7 Feb. 2020 CBS All Access also enables you to live stream TV shows like Picard, Star Trek: Discovery, NCIS, Big Brother, Why Women Kill and The Good Fight. Alicia Kortendick, al, "‘Tommy’ premiere: How to watch, live stream, TV channel, time," 6 Feb. 2020 Given this, the question is how do companies and individuals enable themselves to be a part of the gig economy and contribute towards the global economic, sustainable and inclusive growth. C.p. Gurnani, Quartz India, "What Indian millennials, companies and the government can do for the gig economy to succeed," 5 Feb. 2020 Having team members who bring a fresh perspective about the industry enable you to look beyond the industry and see work from a different angle. Jennifer Risi, Quartz at Work, "The culture-shifting benefits of hiring an unlikely candidate," 3 Feb. 2020 This gave Moi great political flexibility and enabled him to enter new alliances and to rehabilitate, recycle, or swap allies. Gabrielle Lynch, Quartz Africa, "How Daniel arap Moi became Kenya’s “big man” president," 3 Feb. 2020 The biochemical composition of flavonols (part of a larger antioxidant class known as flavonoids) appears to enable them to quell inflammation and to scavenge free radicals in the blood and the gut to help prevent cellular damage. Gary Stix, Scientific American, "What’s in Kale (or a Pear) that Seems to Lower Alzheimer’s Risk?," 30 Jan. 2020 As part of signing on for Filmmaker mode, companies are required to offer either a dedicated button on the TV’s remote or an automated function that would prompt a user to enable it when the content calls for it. Stan Horaczek, Popular Science, "Your next TV could have a new mode that automatically eradicates the ‘soap opera effect’," 30 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'enable.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of enable

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about enable

Time Traveler for enable

Time Traveler

The first known use of enable was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for enable

Last Updated

14 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Enable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enable. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for enable


How to pronounce enable (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of enable

: to make (someone or something) able to do or to be something
: to make (something) possible, practical, or easy
technical : to cause (a feature or capability of a computer) to be active or available for use


en·​able | \ i-ˈnā-bəl How to pronounce enable (audio) \
enabled; enabling

Kids Definition of enable

: to give strength, power, or ability to : make able A good night's sleep enabled me to face the day refreshed.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on enable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for enable

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with enable

Spanish Central: Translation of enable

Nglish: Translation of enable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of enable for Arabic Speakers

Comments on enable

What made you want to look up enable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!