en·​abler | \ i-ˈnā-blər How to pronounce enabler (audio) , -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

Being a friend is one thing, but don't be an enabler. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive.com, "Horoscope for June 15, 2019: Happy birthday to actress Helen Hunt; Cancer, you can always change your mind," 15 June 2019 Trump’s enablers in Congress helped put an end to the madness because something more important (to them) than the rule of law, civility, ethics, equality, global stability, mature policymaking, and the environment was at stake: Money. Timothy L. O'brien, The Denver Post, "O’Brien: Donald Trump’s failures — like his abandoned tariffs on Mexico — make him even more dangerous," 10 June 2019 My insomnia is a natural enabler for my podcast obsession. Lauren Mechling, Vogue, "Confessions of a Pod Person," 27 May 2019 The mafia relies on circles of enablers — often forced to remain silent — to take control of entire regions or cities. Rick Noack, Washington Post, "Comey said working with Trump reminded him of the Mob — let’s break that comment down," 13 Apr. 2018 My religious community applauded me for standing against Nassar and his enablers while, in the same breath, condemned me for speaking against religious institutions that mishandled abuse. Rachael Denhollander, Vox, "I’m a sexual assault survivor. And a conservative. The Kavanaugh hearings were excruciating.," 15 Oct. 2018 The world must apply pressure on the Houthis and their Iranian enablers. Ahmed Awad Binmubarak, WSJ, "Keep Your Revolution to Yourself, Iran," 14 Feb. 2019 Whereupon the King and his enablers embarked on a Royalist coup. Maya Singer, Vogue, "Who's Up For Burning It All Down?," 6 Oct. 2018 Some of us who would otherwise be reluctant to vote for Mr. Trump and Republican enablers in Congress see the over-the-top Democratic and media response to him as reason enough to cast ballots for the GOP despite any misgivings. WSJ, "Casten Has the Anti-Pedophile Vote Secured," 2 Nov. 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

5 Jul 2019

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 How to pronounce enabler (audio) \

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

Comments on enabler

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