Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What is a verb meaning to make changeable or to make variable? For example,

Though normally his opinions were final, a recent stroke had ___ed his mind.

When group policy changed, a ton of files were ___ed.

If at all possible the word should be terse, but clear meaning is most important.

share|improve this question
1  
As stated below, opened would work in many instances, and I would offer up unfrozen. However, one would need the exact context to pick the most appropriate word in this case. –  Brendon Oct 31 '11 at 11:54
    
Unfreeze is perfect. It's short, works in both cases, and is decipherable even with little context. Post this as an answer, so I can accept it. –  Dave Oct 31 '11 at 13:28
    
This is where you just make up your own word: unimmutabilize –  Kazark Oct 31 '11 at 13:56

5 Answers 5

up vote 1 down vote accepted

In a comment, I offered up the term unfrozen, and all forms thereof as a word meaning "having become able to be changed." I was initially worried that this would be too jargon-y for the questioner, however, he has made it clear that it will work.

I would generally use the term for things such as files, bank accounts, records, etc. However, there is no reason I can see that it couldn't be used in a more general context. The dictionary offers the following definition:

To remove a control or restriction on (prices or wages, for example).

This lends toward my instincts. In your case, I still think opened would be best for the first. An "open mind" is what one would generally say about someone whose thoughts have become more liberal. Unfrozen, however, is perfect for the second and many other uses.

share|improve this answer

I'd say "opened" would work for the first example. For the second example "opened" would perhaps confuse.

share|improve this answer

The phrase to make changeable isn't directly usable in the examples you have given. Nevertheless a suitable, short alternative for use in the sentences, which alludes to change and variability is alter.

share|improve this answer
1  
As I understood the question, the OP is asking for a word that means to change from a state of being fixed and unchangeable to a state of being flexible or possible to change. For the second example something that means "editable-ized" - scratching my head on that one though! –  Matt Oct 31 '11 at 10:35

The word for someone whose opinions are subject to change is typically "open-minded". I would write your first sentence as "... a recent stroke had opened his mind."

Brendon's suggestion of "unfrozen" is good for the second example, though potentially ambiguous. Depending on the context, it could be understood to mean that they wee now available for viewing or transportation.

Note that one of the curious features of English is that the word "opened" would mean two different things in the two examples you give. If you say something "opened someone's mind", that means his opinions are now more subject to change. But if you say that something "opened the company's files", that means they are now available for viewing. It does not imply that they are more or less changeable than they were before. I can't think of any single word that unambiguously means "made changeable". You might have to use a phrase, like "the files were now subject to change".

share|improve this answer

The phrase "made mutable" or similar (as in, "When group policy changed, a ton of files became mutable.") might serve better than "unfrozen", for your second example.

Files being made mutable indicates that they have changed from being read-only to being read/write, while files being "unfrozen" is ambiguous because it could mean that the files changed from unavailable for reading to available for reading, vs. from read-only to read/write vs. from not-deletable to deletable, etc.

An advantage of "mutable" vs. "changeable" and "alterable" is that "mutable" is already in common use in Computer Science with the defined meaning that an object, attribute, or value is subject to change instead of being fixed: "[An] immutable object is an object whose state cannot be modified after it is created. This is in contrast to a mutable object, which can be modified after it is created."

Another possibility (although subject to some of the same ambiguities as unfrozen) is "unlocked". E.g.: "When group policy changed, a ton of files were unlocked."

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.