IT’S A WORD OF THE DAY QUIZ BONANZA!
Origin of enabler
Words nearby enabler
ABOUT THIS WORD
What does enabler mean?
An enabler is someone who allows or makes it easier for someone to do what they shouldn’t. It’s especially used in the context of addiction and abuse.
The verb enable is usually used in a positive or neutral way meaning to make possible or provide someone with the power, means, opportunity, or authority to do something.
But the word enabler is almost always used in a critical way to refer to someone who allows, encourages, or makes it possible for another person to engage in behavior that’s harmful to others, such as abuse, or self-destructive, such as drug or alcohol abuse.
For example, a parent who allows the other parent to abuse their children might be called an enabler.
Example: He asked me to go out for one drink, but I don’t want to be an enabler, so I told him we could go to a movie instead.
Where does enabler come from?
The first records of the word enabler come from the 1600s. Its base word, enable, is formed from the prefix en- and the word able, making it mean “to make able to.”
An enabler allows people to be able to continue doing the harmful things that they’ve been doing to themselves or others. This especially happens in close relationships, such as between friends or partners or between a parent and child. Enablers don’t necessarily need to be actively encouraging bad behavior to be considered enablers. Enablers enable in a number of ways, such as by making excuses for the person, justifying their behavior, or helping them to avoid the consequences of their actions. Sometimes, the enabling happens even though the enabler doesn’t mean it to or doesn’t realize that they’re doing it. They may think they’re helping or being supportive, but by not trying to intervene to stop behavior before it happens or to denounce it after it happens, they end up allowing or even indirectly encouraging it.
Although the term enabler is often used in the serious context of addiction and abuse, it can be used in less serious ways. A person who’s trying to follow a strict diet may call someone an enabler for bringing junk food into the house.
Did you know ... ?
How is enabler used in real life?
Calling someone an enabler is almost always negative. Still, it can be used in serious and not-so-serious ways.
@rcmillershow it ain't about getting wise. It's actually about getting sober, and dumping every enabler in her life.
— kristen johnston (@thekjohnston) March 19, 2013
Abusers are not the only ones upholding rape culture. It’s also the people who defend them; it’s the family members who makes excuses for them; it’s the friends who said, “well, it never happened to me.”
Being an enabler is violent.
— 🦋✨ (@comachuchovos) June 24, 2020
To put it simply:
1.) Yes, you are an ENABLER if you do not call out problematic or misogynistic behavior. Especially when they’re your friends. And yes, that’s just as bad.
2.) People need to be held accountable bc if no one will, said behavior will continue to be tolerated.
— Ria (@ohrianana) July 4, 2020
Example sentences from the Web for enabler
“Centre County was an enabler to him,” Long wrote in an email to The Daily Beast.
“In many ways I think she functioned as an enabler for the regime,” he says.Asma-al-Assad Comes Out in Support of Syria’s Brutal Regime|Josh Dzieza|February 8, 2012|DAILY BEAST
He was incredibly dedicated to John, extremely loyal, probably spoiled him a little too much, maybe an enabler in some ways.
So when Sadow called Brown an “enabler”—likely meaning that Brown benefitted from the case—he was partly right.
Then you go home and your wife Susan calls you an “enabler.”
But they are mine because they are his, and he is the demander and enabler of love.Weighed and Wanting|George MacDonald