The Meaning of Enable: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of enable? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word enable, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word enable mean?

According to Merriam-Webster, Collins English Dictionary, and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the word enable is a verb that means to make something possible to happen, or to give a person the permission, adequate power, or opportunity to do something. Sometimes, people will use the word enable to refer to a person who provides support for addictive or dysfunctional behavior. This self-destructive behavior creates an excuse for people to continue their habits. Enable is three syllables – en-a-ble, and the pronunciation of enable is ɪneɪbəl. 

Many other languages besides English contain words that mean enable. You may notice that many of these words look and sound similar to one another. These are called cognates, which are words that look, sound, and mean similar things across languages. These are usually formed when two words or languages are of a common origin or root language such as Latin or Greek. This list of translations of enable is provided by Word Sense

  •  Catalan: habilitar‎
  •  Spanish: habilitar‎
  •  Dutch: inschakelen‎, in staat stellen‎
  •  Portuguese: possibilitar‎
  •  Russian: дава́ть возмо́жность‎, уполномо́чивать‎, активи́ровать‎
  •  Scottish Gaelic: thoir comas do‎
  •  Arabic: أمكن‎
  •  Esperanto: ebligi‎
  •  Swedish: möjliggöra‎
  •  Finnish: mahdollistaa‎, tehdä kykeneväksi
  •  Latin: habilito‎
  •  French: activer‎, autoriser‎, permettre‎
  •  German: aktivieren‎, befähigen‎, einschalten‎, ermöglichen‎, freigeben‎
  •  Czech: umožnit‎

What is the origin of the word enable?

According to Etymonline, the word enable has been used since the early c15 to mean to make fit, and since mid-c15 to mean to make able to. This comes from the prefix en meaning to make or put in and the word able. One can add the suffixes ed, ing, and r to form the related words enabled, (past participle)  enabling (present participle), and enabler.

What are synonyms and antonyms of enable?

There are many different words that a person can use in place of the word enable. These are known as synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another word or phrase. Synonyms are a useful tool to know when it comes to  English language grammar because they can help to expand a person’s vocabulary and in turn prevent them from repeating themselves in conversation or written work. This list of synonyms for the word enable is provided by Thesaurus

  •  provide the means
  •  condition
  •  facilitate
  •  invest
  •  ready
  •  authorize
  •  let
  •  empower
  •  sanction
  •  warrant
  •  prepare
  •  license
  •  endow
  •  accredit
  •  implement
  •  make possible
  •  give power
  •  fit
  •  permit
  •  set up
  •  qualify
  •  capacitate
  •  approve
  •  allow
  •  commission

There are also numerous different words that have the opposite meanings as the word insatiable. These opposite words are known as antonyms, which are another great way to try and expand your vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word insatiable is also provided by Thesaurus

  •  hamstring
  •  frustrate
  •  check
  •  delay
  •  block
  •  bar
  •  debar
  •  box in
  •  obstruct
  •  inhibit
  •  interrupt
  •  thwart
  •  trammel
  •  hold up
  •  contravene
  •  terminate
  •  deter
  •  muzzle
  •  slow down
  •  stop
  •  louse up
  •  bottleneck
  •  oppose
  •  impede
  •  retard
  •  snafu
  •  resist
  •  crab
  •  counteract
  •  neutralize
  •  arrest
  •  burden
  •  cramp
  •  clog
  •  interfere
  •  handicap
  •  prevent
  •  get in the way
  •  hold back
  •  fetter
  •  stymie
  •  hinder
  •  offset
  •  encumber
  •  stay
  •  balk
  •  curb
  •  shut out
  •  hamper
  •  choke
  •  prohibit
  •  crimp
  •  cripple
  •  preclude
  •  hog-tie

How can the word enable be used in a sentence?

The word enable can be used in many different ways in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definitions. You can also try making flashcards or quizzes for yourself to test your knowledge. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! You never know, it may become one of your new favorite words. Below are several examples of enable to get you started.

On the personal blog on the internet, a number of courses are available to provide an understanding of a broad range of issues in world history. This can enable a person to learn a number of different perspectives to form an opinion. 

The computer’s firewall and Javascript permission did not enable us to browse the filing system by default. We had to make a full backup compression of the backing and take it to an electronics specialist who used new methods to complete the accurate identification of potential problems.

In Phoebe’s clinical performance, she studies the effects of an enabler in a new home on addicts. She found that even in a change of environment with reasonable adjustments, if the person enable the addictive behavior, there was little hope of recovery.

I had to enable the adult viewing on the television in order to watch the program I wanted to watch. My mom had installed the child permissions for my little sister, which meant all that I could watch were cartoons. 

When Tony was feeling down, his psychologist enabled him with the tools he needed to build confidence. He learned how to walk and stand tall, interact with others, and make meaningful connections. 

Overall, the word enable means to provide someone with sufficient power or easy access to do something. This could also be used to refer to legal power, or the capability of a computer. This word can either have a positive or negative connotation because one can enable something or someone to do great things, or a person can be enabled to continue with destructive behavior to themselves or others. This is a very common word in the English language and is therefore useful to know its definition and how to use it. 


  1. enable: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. ENABLE Synonyms: 35 Synonyms & Antonyms for ENABLE | Thesaurus 
  3. HINDER Synonyms: 77 Synonyms & Antonyms for HINDER | Thesaurus 
  4. Enable definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary
  5. enable | Origin and meaning of enable | Online Etymology Dictionary