en·​able i-ˈnā-bəl How to pronounce enable (audio)
enabled; enabling i-ˈnā-b(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce enable (audio)

transitive verb

: to provide with the means or opportunity
training that enables people to earn a living
: to make possible, practical, or easy
a deal that would enable passage of a new law
: to cause to operate
software that enables the keyboard
: to give legal power, capacity, or sanction to
a law enabling admission of a state

Did you know?

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.

Example Sentences

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.
Recent Examples on the Web The Prime has a larger battery than the standard model and the battery can be recharged to enable a longer electric-only driving range. Toyota, Car and Driver, 17 Nov. 2022 To enable location scouting during the lockdown, the Moroccan government facilitated permits, enabling a 40-strong team to travel to Fez for a tech scout. Martin Dale, Variety, 14 Nov. 2022 Dufour said survey responses indicated that people want a website that offers more information about city services, better integration to social media and the ability to enable Brook Park departments to regularly update their information. Beth Mlady, cleveland, 14 Nov. 2022 Some county law enforcement agencies pursue fentanyl deaths like homicide investigations to enable longer sentences. San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 Nov. 2022 Later, the conservatory added services to enable young people and entire families to acquire and develop skills in radio production, podcasting, music and digital content creation, and photography. Selene Riverastaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 10 Nov. 2022 How to enable screen recording To make this feature available, go to the Settings menu, then tap on Control Center and scroll down to the Screen Recording option. Stephanie Arredia, The Arizona Republic, 8 Nov. 2022 Plus As blockchain technologies have evolved to enable ever-faster digital payments, the need for speed continues to drive both technological innovation and mainstream adoption of new digital assets. Ashley Belanger, Ars Technica, 8 Nov. 2022 More funds need to be allocated to cover their travel to international meetings and to enable their active participation. Catherine Mckenna, Scientific American, 8 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near enable

Cite this Entry

“Enable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/enable. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



en·​able in-ˈā-bəl How to pronounce enable (audio)
enabled; enabling -b(ə-)liŋ How to pronounce enable (audio)
: to make able
glasses enable you to read
: to make possible, practical, or easy
: to give legal power or permission to

More from Merriam-Webster on enable

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.