I have disabled something and want to enable it again. Can I say that I "re-enable it" or do I simply "enable" it?

  • 7
    Go ahead and reenable it. It's not doing you any good the way it is.
    – Robusto
    Sep 27 '12 at 1:29

If it was enabled at some point in the past, then you can re-enable it.

Technically if it was never enabled before and you turn it on for the first time, you shouldn't call that "re-enabling", but I doubt anybody would really care to split that hair if it's something that's likely to be flipped back and forth on any sort of frequent basis.

  • 1
    And then I can re-disable it.
    – gam3
    Sep 27 '12 at 2:00
  • 1
    You could "re-disable" it, but I doubt that most native speakers would use that term. We'd just say "disable" it. Because it's a toggle, most speakers would probably say "enable/disable" in most contexts. A Google search for "re-disable" shows only "re-enable/disable" in the first 100 hits. NGRAM viewer shows no BrE or AmE hits between 1800 & 2008.
    – user21497
    Sep 27 '12 at 2:24
  • 3
    Nobody will split that hair. I've refrigerated many things that have never been frigerated. Sep 27 '12 at 6:28

If it is a simple toggle switch, I would employ either enable, restore or reinstate.

When dealing with a trigger device that would not come on immediately, I would rather use arm or rearm.

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