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

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 There is still much work ahead to convince voters in every corner of the country that America cannot afford another two years, much less another four years, of Trump and his enablers at the helm. Dahleen Glanton, chicagotribune.com, "Why nobody should care about Trump's alleged affair with Stormy Daniels," 8 Mar. 2018 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

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

10 May 2019

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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

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