I have a feature of a device that I can enable or disable. When this state changes (from enabled to disabled, or disabled to enabled), an alert is sent to me. However, if a change is attempted that does not end up changing the state (from enabled to enabled, or disabled to disabled), an alert is not sent to me.

I am alerted if and only if the ________ of the feature changes.

Is there a single word that will fit in this blank? It should be specific to the "enabled/disabled" state, and not, for instance, the "togglable", "loading", etc. states.

Note that this is not indicative of whether or not it can be enabled, but rather whether the specific state of being enabled has changed. For instance, "state" is too general, since everything in this product and its features either is or has a state of some sort. I want this to specifically refer to the state of being enabled or disabled.

  • 3
    2 words: "enablement state/status"
    – TrevorD
    May 9, 2016 at 23:06
  • 7
    I believe you used the most suitable term in your question. State the particular condition that someone or something is in at a specific time
    – user174244
    May 9, 2016 at 23:33
  • @PeterTòmasScott but can't state work for more than two states? I don't want to confuse this with anything but being enabled and disabled.
    – Ky -
    May 10, 2016 at 0:14
  • 1
    Yes, state can refer to a more than two conditions. In the sentence you cite in the question, I don't see any need to specify that it is a binary state. However, if you wish to, I would suggest prefixing state with logical or, more explicitly, binary.
    – user174244
    May 10, 2016 at 0:28
  • 5
    "Is there a better word for enabledness?" english.stackexchange.com/questions/229276/…
    – Josh Beam
    May 10, 2016 at 0:28

2 Answers 2


Try - polarity

the particular state either positive or negative (with reference to the two poles or to electrification)

diametrical opposition, also an instance of such opposition

So, the feature can be initially in a positive/negative state (called polarity) and after a change in polarity, it goes to a state that is diametrically opposite, as defined in the blocks.


The ability for something to toggle? Toggleable; used in programming very often.


  • You mean "togglability"? "Togglable" doesn't fit in my example sentence.
    – Ky -
    May 10, 2016 at 18:31
  • @BenC.R.Leggiero It's a mouthful to boot; most people would say I am alerted if and only if the state changes. No need for fancy words :-)
    – lux
    May 10, 2016 at 18:33
  • Also, I don't want to say whether or not it can be enabled or disabled, but instead whether or not it is right now.
    – Ky -
    May 10, 2016 at 18:59
  • 'State' is your word. Polarity is...confusing.
    – lux
    May 10, 2016 at 19:15
  • you're right that polarity is a bit confusing, but it's more specific than "state". Everything in this product and its features is or has a state, but I want this to be specific to the state of being enabled or disabled.
    – Ky -
    May 11, 2016 at 14:57

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