abandon

verb
aban·​don | \ ə-ˈban-dən How to pronounce abandon (audio) \
abandoned; abandoning; abandons

Definition of abandon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to give up to the control or influence of another person or agent
b : to give up with the intent of never again claiming a right or interest in abandon property
2 : to withdraw from often in the face of danger or encroachment abandon ship soldiers forced to abandon their position
3 : to withdraw protection, support, or help from he abandoned his family
4 : to give (oneself) over unrestrainedly abandoned himself to a life of self-indulgence
5a : to cease from maintaining, practicing, or using abandoned their native language
b : to cease intending or attempting to perform abandoned the escape

abandon

noun

Definition of abandon (Entry 2 of 2)

: a thorough yielding to natural impulses especially : enthusiasm, exuberance with reckless abandon

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Other Words from abandon

Verb

abandoner noun

Choose the Right Synonym for abandon

Verb

abandon, desert, forsake mean to leave without intending to return. abandon suggests that the thing or person left may be helpless without protection. abandoned children desert implies that the object left may be weakened but not destroyed by one's absence. a deserted town forsake suggests an action more likely to bring impoverishment or bereavement to that which is forsaken than its exposure to physical dangers. a forsaken lover

synonyms see in addition relinquish

Did You Know?

Noun

The sense of "abandon" defined above is a relative newcomer to the English language, dating from the early 1800s, but the noun itself is about 200 years older, having been first used in the 1600s in the sense of "the act of abandoning." The earlier sense was influenced by the verb "abandon," which was borrowed by Middle English in the 1300s from Anglo-French abandoner. The Anglo-French term in turn came from the phrase (mettre) a bandun, meaning "to hand over" or "put in someone's control." The newer sense has been more directly influenced by French abandon, which means not only "abandonment or surrender," but also "freedom from constraint."

Examples of abandon in a Sentence

Verb They abandoned the car on a back road. That house was abandoned years ago. The approaching fire forced hundreds of people to abandon their homes. The officer refused to abandon his post. The policy abandons the most vulnerable members of society. She abandoned the party not long after the election. Noun added spices to the stew with complete abandon
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Baker was recommending that Trump abandon the political formula that had taken him to the brink of the Republican nomination, that had enabled him to triumph over sixteen other candidates. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, "The Private Trump Angst of a Republican Icon," 27 Sep. 2020 Cottrol, the historian, says Black people shouldn't abandon their Second Amendment rights over concerns about how some White people may react. John Blake, CNN, "The election scenario that should terrify everyone -- especially Black America," 26 Sep. 2020 The event was also headlined by Donald Trump Jr., who urged Michigan’s working-class voters to abandon the Democratic Party. Michael Lee, Washington Examiner, "Kid Rock tells crowd at Trump rally to 'hit record' because 'fake media' will say it didn't happen," 15 Sep. 2020 Terri Mitko, the Democratic Party chairwoman in Beaver County, one of the Democratic-leaning counties in western Pennsylvania where Trump pounded Hillary Clinton in 2016, predicted that most Trump voters would not abandon the president. Anchorage Daily News, "Race to the White House features new fights in old battlegrounds," 9 Sep. 2020 Terri Mitko, the Democratic Party chairwoman in Beaver County, one of the Democratic-leaning counties in western Pennsylvania where Trump pounded Hillary Clinton in 2016, predicted that most Trump voters would not abandon the president. Steve Peoples, Star Tribune, "Trump, Biden and the road to 270 electoral votes," 8 Sep. 2020 As bad as those numbers might seem for the Trump camp, however, there’s little likelihood that the president’s campaign will abandon the strategy. Clifton Leaf, Fortune, "Trump’s ‘wrong track’ gambit: The president is betting that the worse Americans feel, the more likely they are to reelect him," 6 Sep. 2020 Davey, who served as energy secretary in that administration, said his party will not abandon its anti-Brexit values and wants a trade deal that keeps the U.K. in the EU’s single market and customs union. Freya Pratty-williams, Bloomberg.com, "Ed Davey Says Liberal Democrats Accept Brexit But Not No-Deal," 28 Aug. 2020 In July, yielding to pressure from some of the team’s biggest sponsors, Snyder said the team would abandon its 87-year old name. Katherine Rosman, New York Times, "Washington N.F.L. Team Coach Ron Rivera Says He Has Cancer," 20 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Elvis curriculum included not just musicianship but the entire package: costuming, stage movements and proper manipulation of a guitar that might be worshiped or tossed about with abandon, depending on what the moment required. David Kirby, WSJ, "‘Wild Thing’ Review: Out of This World," 2 Oct. 2020 Impressed by this fact, Koolhaas and his partners use the exhibition to traverse the (mostly) uninhabited earth with unsystematic abandon. Nikil Saval, New York Times, "Design for the Future When the Future Is Bleak," 28 Sep. 2020 Though Zambia has been borrowing with abandon for years, its problems stem in part from falling commodity prices and an exodus of capital triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. Matthew Hill, Bloomberg.com, "Bondholders Facing Zambia Haircut Cast Wary Eyes Over Africa," 26 Sep. 2020 Yet, within a tableau of blue suits, tasteful scarves and somber pronouncements, there was the Capitol Lounge, a safe house for Washington’s tightly wound to unspool with alcohol-induced abandon. Paul Schwartzman, Washington Post, "A refuge for D.C.’s tightly wound and politically exhausted serves its last cocktail," 19 Sep. 2020 That's a lot of female firepower, and the cast dives into all this chewy pulpiness with reckless abandon. Brian Lowry, CNN, "'Ratched' flies closer to 'American Horror Story' than 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'," 18 Sep. 2020 Someone with the strongest ethical character, and a moral compass that is in harmony with a totally fearless creative abandon. Alexia Fernandez, PEOPLE.com, "Timothée Chalamet Wishes 'Friend' Zendaya a Happy Birthday: 'Hope Your Day Is Beautiful'," 1 Sep. 2020 Someone with the strongest ethical character, and a moral compass that is in harmony with a totally fearless creative abandon. Natalie Morin, refinery29.com, "Zendaya Stan Timothée Chalamet Wishes The Actress Happy Birthday," 1 Sep. 2020 But together on our road trip, my family and I ate gimbap with spirited abandon: while playing I spy, mountain peaks unzipping in the distance; or when my sister swerved the minivan to dodge a squirrel, causing both the tires and Umma to screech. Jennifer Hope Choi, Bon Appétit, "No Vacation Is Complete Without a Cooler Full of Gimbap," 19 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abandon.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of abandon

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1815, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for abandon

Verb

Middle English abandounen, borrowed from Anglo-French abanduner, derivative of abandun "surrender, abandonment," from the phrase a bandun "in one's power, at one's disposal," from a "at, to" (going back to Latin ad "to") + bandun "jurisdiction," going back to a Gallo-Romance derivative of Old Low Franconian *bann- "summons, command" (with -d- probably from outcomes of Germanic *bandwō "sign") — more at at entry 1, ban entry 1, banner entry 1

Noun

borrowed from French, in part derivative of abandonner "to abandon," in part going back to Old French abandon, abandun "surrender" — more at abandon entry 1

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Time Traveler for abandon

Time Traveler

The first known use of abandon was in the 14th century

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Statistics for abandon

Last Updated

16 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Abandon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abandon. Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for abandon

abandon

verb
How to pronounce abandon (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of abandon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to leave and never return to (someone who needs protection or help)
: to leave and never return to (something)
: to leave (a place) because of danger

abandon

noun

English Language Learners Definition of abandon (Entry 2 of 2)

: a feeling or attitude of wild or complete freedom

abandon

verb
aban·​don | \ ə-ˈban-dən How to pronounce abandon (audio) \
abandoned; abandoning

Kids Definition of abandon

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to leave and never return to : give up completely They had to abandon the sinking ship.
2 : to stop having or doing Never abandon hope. … Mr. Popper had abandoned his telephoning …— Richard and Florence Atwater, Mr. Popper's Penguins

Other Words from abandon

abandonment \ -​mənt \ noun

abandon

noun

Kids Definition of abandon (Entry 2 of 2)

: a feeling of complete freedom Grandpa drove with reckless abandon.

Choose the Right Synonym for abandon

Verb

abandon, desert, and forsake mean to give up completely. abandon is used when someone has no interest in what happens to the person or thing he or she has given up. She abandoned the wrecked car on the side of the road. desert is used when a person leaves something to which he or she has a duty or responsibility. He deserted his family. forsake is used when a person is leaving someone or something for which he or she once had affection. Don't forsake old friends in times of trouble.

aban·​don

Legal Definition of abandon

1 : to give up with the intent of never again asserting or claiming an interest in (a right or property)
2 : to disassociate oneself from or forsake in spite of a duty or responsibility to abandon one's child
3 : to renounce one's obligations and rights under abandon a contract
4 : to fail purposely to bring to completion or fruition abandon a crime abandon a lawsuit

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Comments on abandon

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