Simple Definition of abject
: extremely bad or severe
: very humble : feeling or showing shame
: very weak : lacking courage or strength
Full Definition of abject
1 : sunk to or existing in a low state or condition <to lowest pitch of abject fortune thou art fallen — John Milton>
3 : expressing or offered in a humble and often ingratiating spirit <abject flattery> <an abject apology>
abjectlyplay \ˈab-ˌjek(t)-lē, ab-ˈ\ adverb
abjectnessplay \-ˌjek(t)-nəs, -ˈjek(t)-\ noun
Examples of abject in a sentence
… the time would come that no human being should be humiliated or be made abject. —Katherine Anne Porter, The Never-Ending Wrong, 1977
… my critical intelligence sometimes shrivels to an abject nodding of the head. —Lewis H. Lapham, Harper's, May 1971
… nothing seemed to have changed at the Beehive across the years. The same pallid employees were visible in the same abject state of peonage, cringing under the whiplash of overseers. —S. J. Perelman, Baby, It's Cold Inside, 1970
They live in abject misery.
He offered an abject apology.
She thought he was an abject coward.
Did You Know?
Abject comes from "abjectus," the past participle of the Latin verb abicere, meaning "to cast off." Its original meaning in English was "cast off" or "rejected," but it is now used to refer more broadly to things in a low state or condition. "Abject" shares with "mean," "ignoble," and "sordid" the sense of being below the normal standards of human decency and dignity. "Abject" may imply degradation, debasement, or servility ("abject poverty"). "Mean" suggests having such repellent characteristics as small-mindedness, ill temper, or cupidity ("mean and petty satire"). "Ignoble" suggests a loss or lack of some essential high quality of mind or spirit ("an ignoble scramble after material possessions"). "Sordid" is stronger than all of these in stressing physical or spiritual degradation and lowness ("a sordid story of murder and revenge").
Origin and Etymology of abject
Middle English, from Latin abjectus, from past participle of abicere to cast off, from ab- + jacere to throw — more at jet
First Known Use: 15th century
Synonym Discussion of abject
Rhymes with abject
advect, affect, aspect, bisect, cathect, collect, confect, connect, convect, correct, cowl-necked, defect, deflect, deject, detect, direct, Dordrecht, effect, eject, elect, erect, ewe-necked, expect, goosenecked, infect, inflect, inject, insect, inspect, neglect, object, pandect, porrect, prefect, prelect, project, prospect, protect, refect, reflect, reject, resect, respect, ring-necked, roll-necked, select, stiff-necked, subject, suspect, traject, transect, trisect, Utrecht, V-necked
ABJECT Defined for Kids
Definition of abject for Students
1 : very bad or severe <abject poverty>
2 : low in spirit, strength, or hope <an abject coward>
abjectlyadverb <He stared abjectly at his ruined home.>
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up abject? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).