en·​able | \ i-ˈnā-bəl How to pronounce enable (audio) \
enabled; enabling\ i-​ˈnā-​b(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce enable (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 Those companies are using that information to create complicated algorithms based on recent local sales of comparable properties that enable them to quickly determine the value of a property without an initial visual inspection. Jim Buchta, Star Tribune, "Scramble is back on to become Amazon of home sales," 29 Dec. 2020 Human capital is your biggest asset as a newbie investor, meaning your future earnings potential should enable you to save money over time and allow compounding to do the heavy lifting for you. Ben Carlson, Fortune, "How your personal finances can survive a pandemic," 28 Dec. 2020 The host could also ask your colleagues to mute their microphones to reduce background noise and to face their camera directly to optimize their audio level and enable you to lip read. Johnny C. Taylor Jr., USA TODAY, "How do I talk to my manager about my hearing loss? Ask HR," 23 Dec. 2020 Rather than buy a snowmobile that will sit in your garage eight months out of the year, these conversion kits enable you to ride a motor bike year-round and really have a blast in any condition. Brent Rose, Popular Mechanics, "Here’s What You Should Know About Snow Bikes," 23 Dec. 2020 The number of students taking the end-of-course exam—which could potentially enable them to get college credit for their high school computer science classes—more than doubled over the first three years, from 43,780 in 2017 to 94,360 in 2019. Tamara Pearson, Quartz, "Why the most lucrative tech careers are still out of reach for so many US students," 21 Dec. 2020 More modifications might enable them to go off-road. Wes Siler, Outside Online, "Why You Don't Want the Electric Mercedes Sprinter Van," 18 Dec. 2020 That would enable you to pay taxes as a business, rather than an individual. Thasunda Brown Duckett, Essence, "How to Start Your Own Business," 17 Dec. 2020 The fund will enable us to double the size of our investigative team and expand its scope statewide. Peter Kovacs, NOLA.com, "Letter to Readers: A plan to expand investigative reporting in Louisiana," 16 Dec. 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

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Enable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enable. Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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