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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for enable


allow, empower, let, permit



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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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Anthony Davis wants to win Defensive Player of the Year and thinks that goal will enable him to help the Lakers win. Emily Caron, SI.com, "Lakers' Anthony Davis Wants to Win Defensive Player of the Year," 9 Sep. 2019 Greater capital investment means more business technology and infrastructure, which make workers’ time more productive and enable them to earn higher wages. Tracy C. Miller, Twin Cities, "Tracy C. Miller: Wealth tax won’t stand up to scrutiny," 8 Sep. 2019 To solve the problem of onset time, many companies are experimenting with nano-emulsification, which uses a blending agent that attaches to the cannabis molecules, enabling them to better mix with water. Kristine Owram, chicagotribune.com, "Scientists are racing to make pot like booze so you can drink it," 6 Sep. 2019 This large mirror gives the instruments their fine resolution, enabling them to identify objects just 10cm across. Eric Adams, Popular Mechanics, "Everything We Know About America's Secret KH-11 Recon Satellites," 6 Sep. 2019 Farha and others have also encapsulated enzymes inside MOFs, protecting the fragile molecules from harsh environments and enabling them to carry out industrial reactions outside cells. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "Crystalline nets harvest water from desert air, turn carbon dioxide into liquid fuel," 3 Sep. 2019 The president struck a Faustian bargain by accepting loans from the oligarchs that the state could never repay, thus enabling them to snap up Russia's most valuable assets. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Citizen K': Film Review | Venice 2019," 31 Aug. 2019 The San Diego utility has adopted a sophisticated system enabling it to curtail power to a single neighborhood or street. Julie Cart, The Mercury News, "What to know as California’s peak fire months loom," 30 Aug. 2019 Cleaning up after your father is essentially enabling him. Ask Amy, oregonlive.com, "Ask Amy: Daughter wants to cut off ties with racist dad but feels guilty," 27 Aug. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of enable

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

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Statistics for enable

Last Updated

12 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for enable

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

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More Definitions for enable



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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on enable

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with enable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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