abandon

verb
aban·​don | \ ə-ˈban-dən \
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
abandonment \ -​dən-​mənt \ 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

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.

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

Your objective is to determine the fate — and often, the precise manner of death — of each person on board, their culpability in the tragedy, and the larger series of events that left the ship abandoned and adrift. Laura Hudson, The Verge, "Why Return of the Obra Dinn is my game of the year," 21 Dec. 2018 Lippmann feared that the citizenry would abandon the public square and give themselves over to propaganda. Sean Illing, Vox, "Intellectuals have said democracy is failing for a century. They were wrong.," 20 Dec. 2018 Polygamy is a legacy of the early teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but the mainstream church abandoned the practice in 1890 and now strictly prohibits it. Brady Mccombs, The Seattle Times, "Polygamous group lets go of sprawling Arizona worship center," 10 Dec. 2018 The car went northbound on Interstate 95 and, at one point, the occupants abandoned the vehicle and got into another car. Fox News, "Teen arrested after leading police on 40-mile high speed chase in stolen car," 2 Oct. 2018 Navagio is one of the best beaches in Greece, and draws its nickname—Shipwreck Beach—from a freighter that ran aground there in 1980, was abandoned, and still rests in the beach’s white sands today. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "Landslide Injures Tourists at Greece's Famous 'Shipwreck' Beach," 14 Sep. 2018 When confronted, the male abandoned the cart in the parking lot and drove off in a green four-door Chevrolet. Washington Post, "Southern Maryland crime report," 12 July 2018 The ensuing brouhaha caused Sichel and Schwarzman to abandon the school renaming and led the superintendent to write a letter of apology over how the matter was handled. Kathy Boccella, Philly.com, "Abington superintendent to retire after Stephen Schwarzman donation debacle," 9 July 2018 His German shepherd Nala was found abandoned and severely underweight in an apartment in Azusa after the residents left. Hillary Davis, latimes.com, "Coming to the rescue: Newport resident’s dog food company starts nonprofit to get homeless dogs veterinary care," 7 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There’s no sense of growing abandon in what is, after all, both exuberant celebration and increasingly drunken revel. Barbara Jepson, WSJ, "Uncertain Tempo," 31 Dec. 2018 So, dream big! Bake every floor-through apartment, fantasy job, or gorgeous new lover into each layer, smear lovingly with raspberry jam and sour cream frosting, and decorate with absurd wild abandon. Alison Roman, The Cut, "Forget Engagement Chicken. Meet Breakup Steak.," 6 June 2018 A Honolulu Airport baggage handler who was recently caught tossing luggage with apparent abandon onto a Hawaiian Airlines flight has sparked a frenzied debate on Twitter. Fox News, "Honolulu Airport worker filmed tossing luggage sparks Twitter debate," 30 May 2018 But many economists predict it’ll collapse almost immediately, as the government continues to print bolivars with abandon to fund a deficit estimated at over 20 percent of gross domestic product. Jorge Rueda, The Seattle Times, "Maduro buys gold to boost savings amid five-digit inflation," 3 Sep. 2018 The United States takes pride in being the world’s preeminent military power and is willing to spend with abandon to stay that way. Griff Witte, Washington Post, "Merkel and Trump agree the ailing German military needs a boost. Why isn’t it happening?," 21 June 2018 Or, maybe, just throw ourselves without abandon into the nearest available body of water? refinery29.com, "The 10 Best Treats To Cool Off With This Summer," 14 June 2018 Detroit is not at all subtle about this slavery metaphor, throwing the word around with an abandon that borders on insensitive. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Detroit: Become Human review: Robotic in all of the wrong ways," 24 May 2018 Dancers pirouette, jump, make windmill arms and line-dance in apparent carefree abandon. Marcia Manna, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Choreographer Mark Morris interprets 50-year-old ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’ songs as dance," 10 May 2018

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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Statistics for abandon

Last Updated

12 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for abandon

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

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More Definitions for abandon

abandonment

noun

Financial Definition of abandonment

What It Is

In the business world, abandonment refers to the purposeful surrender of ownership of an asset.

How It Works

For example, let's assume that Company XYZ owns an oil processing facility in Nigeria. The government has become very unstable there, and because the company cannot lift up and move the facility, it abandons the property and leaves the country. In doing so, it may be able to recoup some of the costs via tax deductions or other measures, but Company XYZ has surrendered its ownership of the facility.

People who trade commodities and other items using forward contracts also might be able to abandon the underlying assets by undertaking another trade that avoids having to take delivery of the assets.

Why It Matters

Abandoning assets is not as easy as abandoning an empty candy wrapper in the street. Companies often have to calculate the abandonment value of the assets they have left behind or that no longer have financial value, and usually they must get permission from various government entities to let go of physical assets. Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Statement 71 provides guidance about how companies are to account for abandoned property.

Source: Investing Answers

abandon

verb

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 \
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.

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abandon

transitive verb
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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More from Merriam-Webster on abandon

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for abandon

Spanish Central: Translation of abandon

Nglish: Translation of abandon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abandon for Arabic Speakers

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