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 581-piece set will enable car buffs to build a mini F1 LM in papaya orange and a pint-sized Solus GT in white with matching orange accents. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 2 Mar. 2023 This new vineyard will enable Cakebread to double down on quality and consistency for its Chardonnay production. Jess Lander, San Francisco Chronicle, 2 Mar. 2023 The affordances of sticks, pedals and things to hit with them enable our sound. Peter Rubin, Longreads, 2 Mar. 2023 Federal grants would be made to states to help modernize their information technology systems to enable them to respond more quickly to fraud, decrease erroneous payments and provide more efficient claims processing. Michael Collins, USA TODAY, 2 Mar. 2023 Newer companies, like Compose AI, might enable people to further rely on autocomplete functions while sending emails. Reece Rogers, WIRED, 1 Mar. 2023 Robinson's skill set could also enable him to occasionally be utilized in a similar fashion as Deebo Samuel, who has been primarily a receiver in San Francisco, but also is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades that contributes to the running game. Josh Criswell, Chron, 1 Mar. 2023 According to Sony, the XR OLED Contrast Pro on the A95L and the XR Contrast Booster 15 on the X95L enable each TV to put out more light than their previous versions. PCMAG, 1 Mar. 2023 Established as a first-of-its-kind program among U.S. performing rights organizations, the ASCAP Composers’ Choice Awards enable composers to recognize the artistic accomplishments of their peers. Paul Grein, Billboard, 27 Feb. 2023 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 27 Mar. 2023.

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!

What Did You Just Call Me?

  • brown chihuahua sitting on the floor with squinting eyes looking at the camera
  • Before we went to her house, Hannah told us her aunt was a flibbertigibbet.
Spell It

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

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?