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 Yet, to keep up yields, farming can’t entirely abandon herbicides, says Ziska. Natasha Gilbert, Wired, "Will Rising Temperatures Make Superweeds Even Stronger?," 19 Dec. 2020 Cleveland is the year’s second major professional sports franchise to abandon its racist branding, joining the Washington NFL Team, which dropped its slur of a team name and similarly offensive mascot in July. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "The Year that Killed the Native Mascot," 14 Dec. 2020 Don’t abandon the middle ground, which actually exists. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, "Mrs. Smith’s Tips for New Lawmakers," 10 Dec. 2020 Some commuters may end up working from home permanently; others may abandon public transit if cuts cause service to deteriorate. New York Times, "‘Existential Peril’: Mass Transit Faces Huge Service Cuts Across U.S.," 6 Dec. 2020 For example, businesses could abandon the current practice of delaying construction and vegetation clearing in migratory bird habitat during the nesting season. Tristan Baurick, NOLA.com, "Trump administration takes aim at bird protection law that hit BP with $100 million oil spill fine," 1 Dec. 2020 The migrant crisis that had Trump adopt, then quickly abandon, a zero-tolerance policy that separated children from their parents wasn’t of Trump’s making. Rich Lowry, National Review, "Biden’s Immigration Radicalism," 1 Dec. 2020 Yet Parton didn’t entirely abandon that earlier mode of storytelling. Dorian Lynskey, Los Angeles Times, "When Dolly was dark: How Dolly Parton went from bard of death and cruelty to avatar of goodness," 30 Nov. 2020 Once Biden takes office in January, the Justice Department could agree to turn over the materials, or the House Judiciary Committee could abandon the probe. Greg Stohr, Bloomberg.com, "Supreme Court Cancels Dec. 2 Argument on Mueller Documents," 20 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Gone also, in many school plans, are recess and team sports and music classes that encourage singing with abandon. Heidi Stevens, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Remote learning takes a toll on students’ mental health. But returning to classrooms won’t be easy either.," 31 Dec. 2020 But the real focus of Lovers Rock is the crowd, the sense of community that arises from feeling like you’re in a safe space, free to move and feel and eat with abandon. Anne Cohen, refinery29.com, "Lovers Rock Is The Most Magical Sexy Party Of The Year (& You Can Attend Safely From Home)," 27 Nov. 2020 The fossil fuel divestment campaign, for instance, has seen endowments and portfolios worth more than $14 trillion abandon fossil fuel ties. Bill Mckibben, The New York Review of Books, "Biden’s Most Daunting Adversary," 31 Oct. 2020 The effort was all a result of a defense that played with reckless abandon, especially the big boys up front. Kyle J. Andrews, baltimoresun.com, "Concordia Prep football trounces St. John’s Catholic, 53-0, for coach Joe Battaglia’s first win," 14 Nov. 2020 But Grace and Caroline Bell change over the years, and their stories invite us to feel with abandon. Alice Gregory, The New Yorker, "Shirley Hazzard and the Art of Outsized Intimacy," 9 Nov. 2020 Sega was marketing a piece of hardware to the grandchildren of the only country to ever use nuclear weapons on a population, who export imperialism and violence with reckless abandon. Dia Lacina, Wired, "The Evolution of Game Console Design—and American Gamers," 5 Nov. 2020 O’Neill uses this platform jubilantly and with abandon. Gene Weingarten, Washington Post, "In Search of Healing," 26 Oct. 2020 Scalia’s muted role might be attributed to personality: unlike his father, who expressed his opinions with abandon, Eugene Scalia seems disinclined to draw attention to himself. Eyal Press, The New Yorker, "Trump’s Labor Secretary Is a Wrecking Ball Aimed at Workers," 19 Oct. 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

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Abandon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abandon. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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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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