en·​abler | \i-ˈnā-blər, -bᵊl-ər\

Definition of enabler 

: one that enables another to achieve an end especially : one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behavior (such as substance abuse) by providing excuses or by making it possible to avoid the consequences of such behavior

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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 enabler in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

First, if eventually granted, such an order would undermine the effectiveness of a technology—encryption—that is a critical enabler of security for consumers, businesses, and even governments. Greg Nojeim, Eric Wenger, Ars Technica, "FBI vs. Facebook Messenger: What’s at stake?," 2 Oct. 2018 The days of impunity for Tehran and its enablers are over. Gregg Re, Fox News, "John Bolton warns Iran 'there will be hell to pay' if aggression continues: 'We will come after you'," 25 Sep. 2018 Google is the biggest enabler of data harvesting on mobile devices, through the world’s two billion active Android devices. Christopher Mims, WSJ, "Who Has More of Your Personal Data Than Facebook? Try Google," 22 Apr. 2018 Google, which has been under fire for being one of the biggest enablers of fake news, is now fighting back with a new multi-pronged, $300 million plan to elevate quality journalism. Alyssa Newcomb /, NBC News, "Google embraces the news with new initiative to fight misinformation," 20 Mar. 2018 The stable of enablers at Fox News, Breitbart, and elsewhere who repeat his accusations of an FBI conspiracy cannot have forgotten so much so soon. Mona Charen, National Review, "The Conspiratorial Mindset among the President’s Supporters," 26 Jan. 2018 Puzzle piece by piece, interview by interview, Mr. Wardle fits together a grim story of hubristic doctors and their grotesquely unprincipled enablers who played with human lives in the name of science. New York Times, "Review: The Surreal, Heartbreaking Case of ‘Three Identical Strangers’," 27 June 2018 The key enabler, says founder and CEO Blake Scholl, is building airframes out of carbon-fiber composite materials instead of aluminum, as the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 have done. Scott Mccartney, WSJ, "The Future of Flying: Flights Could Be Getting Much Shorter," 19 June 2018 Doug Ford had been one of Rob Ford’s chief enablers, long denying that his brother had an addiction problem. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Rob Ford continues to haunt Canadian politics.," 5 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of enabler

1615, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for enabler

Last Updated

22 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for enabler

The first known use of enabler was in 1615

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More Definitions for enabler


en·​abler | \i-ˈnā-b(ə-)lər \

Medical Definition of enabler 

: one that enables another to achieve an end especially : one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behavior (as substance abuse) by providing excuses or by helping that individual avoid the consequences of such behavior

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a nest or breeding place

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