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Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for enable in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)


From Middle English enablen, equivalent to en- +‎ able.



English Wikipedia has an article on:

enable (third-person singular simple present enables, present participle enabling, simple past and past participle enabled)

  1. To give strength or ability to; to make firm and strong.
  2. To make somebody able (to do, or to be, something); to give sufficient power, sanction or authorization to; to provide with abilities, means, opportunities, and the like
    Synonyms: empower, endow, authorize
    • April 16, 2018, Norimitsu Onishi and Selam Gebrekidan writing in The New York Times, ‘They Eat Money’: How Mandela’s Political Heirs Grow Rich Off Corruption
    • 2013 June 29, “A punch in the gut”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8842, page 72-3:
      Mostly, the microbiome is beneficial. It helps with digestion and enables people to extract a lot more calories from their food than would otherwise be possible. Research over the past few years, however, has implicated it in diseases from atherosclerosis to asthma to autism.
    • 1711, October 13, Joseph Addison, The Spectator, number 195
      Temperance gives Nature her full play, and enables her to exert herself in all her force and vigor.
  3. To make something possible or provide an opportunity for something.
    Synonym: allow
    • 2009, Meribeth A. Dayme, Dynamics of the Singing Voice, Springer Science & Business Media, p. 174:
      Trainers of modern athletes monitor performance by using high tech equipment and biometric bodysuits with embedded sensors to enable detailed analysis of movement, balance, efficiency for athletic performance.
  4. To allow a way out or excuse for an action.
    His parents enabled him to go on buying drugs.
  5. (electronics) To put a circuit element into action by supplying a suitable input pulse.
  6. (chiefly electronics, computing) To activate, to make operational (especially of a function of a electronical or mechanical device).
    Synonyms: activate, turn on
    Antonym: disable

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Further reading[edit]