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Abet, enable, or incite?


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I think the connotation is "abet" is both something that is allowed passively, and something that is being made to pass on or be lessened.

Enable is more active, and "positive" although not necessarily good as in enabling an addiction or substance abuse.

While both of the above might refer to a progression of events, incite implies an active, positive genesis or point of beginning.

Am I somewhat correct in all this? I haven't double-checked any dictionaries, this is just how I roughly remember the meanings depending on how I've heard the words used...

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  • 2 weeks later...

All you definitions seem correct to me. Although, enable isn't 100% a positive connotation in my eyes. For instance, you can be an "enabler" to allowing someone to drink or do drugs. Abet isn't a word I really use in my every day diction or writing, but I also think that your idea of how to use it is the right one though.

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That's one way of describing the relational difference between the three. However, when you define them separately without the context of a connection between each other, you will find a more fundamental difference.

To abet is to encourage a wrongdoing (i.e. a crime in particular as in "aiding and abetting").

To enable is to provide the ability to do something such as delegating authority.

To incite is to stir up violent behavior which are usually unlawful in nature.

As you can see, you cannot use these three words interchangeably for they have very different contextual meanings.

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