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Late Latin habilitatus, past participle of habilitare (to enable).


habilitate (comparative more habilitate, superlative most habilitate)

  1. (obsolete) Qualified or entitled.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Francis Bacon to this entry?)


habilitate (third-person singular simple present habilitates, present participle habilitating, simple past and past participle habilitated)

  1. (transitive) To enable one to function in a given manner; to make one capable of performing a given function or of conducting something; to make one fit to fulfill a given purpose or competent to act within a particular role.
  2. (intransitive) To qualify oneself, through a demonstration of ability, to function in a certain capacity or to act within a certain role.
  3. In European institutions of higher education, to qualify as an instructor or professor, usually by defending a dissertation or similar project.
  4. (US) To supply money to work a mine.


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Usage notesEdit

  • Both deriving ultimately from the Latin habilis, the English verbs habilitate and enable both impart the sense of a gaining or demonstration of ability. However, the verb habilitate differs from the verb enable by the narrower scope of its action. Under enable are subsumed the general senses of: (1) the conferring of sufficient ability or power for something, (2) to qualify or approve for some role or position, (3) to permit or authorize, (4) to affirm, (5) the yielding of possibility or opportunity for something, (6) to excuse some action or behavior, (7) to activate as part of a system. To habilitate only includes (1) and (2) of the above, including, variously, the specific senses of the conferring of power or ability, or qualification in an intransitive sense. It should be noted that with respect to qualification for some action or role, "to habilitate" only covers the intransitive sense, and therefore qualification of oneself through a demonstration of ability, but not the transitive sense of "to qualify" as in being qualified (or approved) by another. The verb to habilitate, in this way, can be viewed as a "partial synonym" of the verb to enable.