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I'm looking for a word that describes "to enable or to disable". This related question found the hypernyms mode and state, but I am looking for a verb. I.e. a word for "(potentially) change mode/state".

I guess to switch is a good match, but unfortunately in JavaScript (my target language), switch is a reserved keyword.

What alternatives are there?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

May I suggest "to set availability"? I think it fits well for function names: SetButtonAvailability(), SetOptionAvailability(), etc. It's long, but descriptive...

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The verb form of toggle can be used to indicate changing state

[no object, with adverbial] Computing switch from one effect, feature, or state to another by using a toggle:
the play/pause button toggles between those functions
[with object]: there are a number of attributes which can be toggled on or off

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I thought of that. The problem of toggle is that it implicitly implies a change to a different state. I want to convey the possibility of staying in the same state. –  Randomblue Feb 4 '13 at 21:18
@Randomblue How can the word describe, as you put it, "change mode or . . . change state" but also encompass "staying in the same state"? –  bib Feb 4 '13 at 21:21
Notice the "potentially" in brackets. I think the verb to set conveys that. "Set to the enabled state" and "set to the disabled state" do not make implicit statements about the previous state, but to toggle does. –  Randomblue Feb 4 '13 at 21:24
“The problem of ‘toggle’ is that it implicitly implies a change to a different state.” So does “switch”. How can you say, “I guess the verb to switch is a good match,…” if you want to encompass “staying in the same state”? –  Scott Feb 5 '13 at 5:14

The verb to set just jumped to mind.

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I’m not sure I grasp what you’re looking for, but it might be ensure, as in “ensure that the ‘Help’ function is enabled.”  Or possibly affirm, which seems to meld the concepts of “confirm” with the possibility of taking action to change the state.

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