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

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?

The sense of abandon defined above is a relative newcomer to the English language, dating from the early 1800s, but an earlier noun sense, defined as "the act of abandoning," was in use in the 1600s. The earlier sense was influenced by the verb abandon, which was borrowed by Middle English in the 1300s from Anglo-French abanduner. The Anglo-French term in turn came from the phrase (mettre) a bandun, meaning "to hand over" or "to 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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Russian expectation of a quick victory evaporated as Ukrainian forces put up stiff resistance, forcing Moscow to abandon its plan to seize the capital, Kyiv. Anchorage Daily News, 23 May 2022 Stephen Kelety, the Dolphin’s skipper, ordered the crew to abandon ship. San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 May 2022 When construction began in 2011, other major cities like Nashville and New York City were starting to abandon plans for their own medical marts. Kaitlin Durbin, cleveland, 22 May 2022 The Russian expectation of a quick victory evaporated as Ukrainian forces put up stiff resistance, forcing Moscow to abandon its plan to seize the capital, Kyiv. Los Angeles Times, 22 May 2022 The operation to abandon the steel plant and its labyrinth of tunnels and bunkers signaled the beginning of the end of a nearly three-month siege. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 18 May 2022 The operation to abandon the steel plant and its labyrinth of tunnels and bunkers signaled the beginning of the end of a nearly three-month siege that turned Mariupol into a worldwide symbol of both defiance and suffering. Oleksandr Stashevskyi And Ciaran Mcquillan, The Christian Science Monitor, 18 May 2022 That is prompting investors to abandon lower-income countries while moving funds into less risky assets in wealthy economies. New York Times, 17 May 2022 The operation to abandon the steel plant signaled the beginning of the end of a nearly three-month siege that turned Mariupol into a worldwide symbol of both defiance and suffering. Oleksandr Stashevskyi And Ciaran Mcquillan, Chicago Tribune, 17 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun At the same time, vacation bookings are soaring, car sales are booming and Americans continue to spend with abandon, thanks to higher wages and brisk hiring. Washington Post, 29 Apr. 2022 Russia is striking Ukraine with abandon, complicating the flow of these newer weapons from Ukraine’s western borders with Poland, Romania and Slovakia to the battle in the east. New York Times, 19 Apr. 2022 Even the maxim that lifting is good only for getting big has been routinely undermined by a new legion of fitness instructors; women who were once cautioned against handling anything mightier than a hand weight now grunt and pull with abandon. Lauren Michele Jackson, The New Yorker, 7 Apr. 2022 The Pelicans are playing with intensity and reckless abandon, and their reward for that type of play is showing up in foul calls and rebounding advantages. Greg Moore, The Arizona Republic, 25 Apr. 2022 Both slug it out with reckless abandon for eight minutes, which many consider the most electrifying three rounds in boxing history. Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 15 Apr. 2022 Rebecca Mead reports on the strangeness and abandon of spring break, and Colin Stokes provides a wheezy guide to allergy season. The New Yorker, 10 Apr. 2022 Her riotously colorful forms swell and droop and merge in unpredictable and often joyous abandon, with occasional nods to Philip Guston, Francis Bacon, and a host of others. Dodie Kazanjian, Vogue, 12 Mar. 2022 Four years later, however, a lengthy (232-day) players’ strike that spilled over from 1994 to 1995 canceled a World Series for the first time and sent ripples through major league cities with economic abandon. Mike Klingaman, baltimoresun.com, 10 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About abandon

Time Traveler for abandon

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast About abandon

Dictionary Entries Near abandon

abampere

abandon

abandon/drop all pretense at

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for abandon

Last Updated

26 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Abandon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abandon. Accessed 27 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for abandon

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 {amp} 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.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on abandon

Nglish: Translation of abandon for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abandon for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!