I just ran across the phrase "button enabledness" in a technical design, but that doesn't look right. Is it a valid word? Is there a better way to express "the state of whether or not something is enabled" (even if it doesn't derive from enabled)?

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    I think that "enablement" is a better non-word for the job than "enabledness".
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 22:40
  • 7
    enablement sounds like the process of enabling. enabledness is the state of whether or not something is enabled.
    – Barmar
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 22:42
  • @Barmar your interpretation is correct--edited my question to clarify
    – c32hedge
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 22:47
  • Hello c32hedge. What ELU or any other StackExchange site is looking for is questions backed by a reasonable amount of evidence of personal research. Which dictionaries have you looked up the candidate word in? Is it given? How often does it occur on Google? Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 23:11
  • Of course it is a word, by definition. So that is not your question. What is your real question? Are you trying to get peole to express revulsion? Are you asking for writing advice? Do you want recommendations for how to disparage the writer? Voting to close as Unclear What You're Asking until you tell us what your real question is, although nearly every other close reason also applies.
    – tchrist
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 23:25

3 Answers 3


I think enabledness is a real word. Words like antidisestablismentarianism show that you can combine affixes in many valid ways; it's a fairly general mechanism, like combining clauses into sentences. The rule is that -ness can be appended to an adjective to form a word that refers to the state of an object that may or may not have that condition, and enabled is a valid adjective describing such a condition.

I think it seems cumbersome because the adjective is a gerund form of a verb, and -ness is more often used with simple adjectives, e.g. sadness. Off the top of my head I can't think of a simple adjective that means enabled, so that we could append the suffix to it. When new adjectives need to be coined, they often come from verbs like this, and you end up with unfamiliar combinations as you derive other forms from them.

If you want something that sounds more playful, you could use enableditude.

UI elements that are enabled are also sometimes referred to as active, so activeness could be another alternative.

  • Disantiestablismentarianness, antiantidisestablismentarianism, quasiantidisestablismentarianism ...; ininflammable, ignice, polyactive, ceruleanness, amethystness, ... show that 'you can combine affixes in almost arbitrary ways' is far from the truth. Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 11:44
  • @EdwinAshworth I said almost.
    – Barmar
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 16:36
  • I'd want 'often quite productive ways'. Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 17:43
  • @EdwinAshworth Take a look at the edit.
    – Barmar
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 17:50
  • We mustn't encourage D-I-Y words-or-are-they. (I may delete this one later.) Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 17:55

I agree with Barmar's answer. It's just that the concept of a button being enabled or disabled is so far from most folks' concerns that enabledness is going to sound funny. By the same token, a logical equivalent, disabledness, sounds even worse.

Avoiding an unfamiliar construction at the cost of some brevity, you might try button enabled/disabled status.

  • 1
    It seems to me that the context for this would be a technical document, not the general public, so "most folks's concerns" may not be very important.
    – Barmar
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 23:07
  • "Enabledness", whether understandable or not, is ugly. Might as well use "Disabledness" for the same setup. Ugly words for the sake of brevity have all the charm of GOTO statements in 80's BASIC. They're jarring and disrupt the flow of understanding. Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 18:36

While it wouldn't work in every situation, "clickability" would work here since the primary use of enabling/disabling a button is to determine whether it does anything when you click it.


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