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 During the rut, bucks will abandon their traditional feeding and bedding areas to concentrate more on does. Brad Fitzpatrick, Outdoor Life, "The Science Behind Deer Movement Can Help You Kill a Good Buck This Season," 16 Nov. 2020 First and foremost, don’t abandon your allocation to stocks. Nancy Tengler, USA TODAY, "What 401(k) moves should you make now that the Trump vs. Biden election is over?," 10 Nov. 2020 The media should abandon fact-checkers’ pretext of objectivity and political disinterest and instead acknowledge their sociopolitical leanings in much the way that NPR tries to pit pro and con points of view in political coverage. Stephen J. Ceci, Scientific American, "The Psychology of Fact Checking," 25 Oct. 2020 Tens of thousands of southern Minnesotans can barely afford their health care plans and, in many cases, abandon their health care needs altogether. Dan Feehan, Star Tribune, "Jim Hagedorn has quit on Minnesota. I won't.," 16 Oct. 2020 The Mouse House will not abandon cinemas, but its reorganization is an admission that theaters do not represent the future of the company—or perhaps of any Hollywood content company. Adam Epstein, Quartz, "Disney is now a streaming company," 13 Oct. 2020 Astronomers should also abandon popular programming languages such as Python in favor of efficient compiled languages. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "‘We’re part of the problem.’ Astronomers confront their role in—and vulnerability to—climate change," 7 Oct. 2020 Only those traveling to the deepest pits of hell abandon all hope before entering. Yuri Slezkine, The New York Review of Books, "Speak, Memory?," 6 Oct. 2020 In other cases, however, family members abandon women after learning that they were sold to a groom in a different and state. Sreya Banerjea, Quartz India, "Up for sale: Stories of three Indian women who were trafficked as brides," 3 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 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

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

22 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Abandon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abandon. Accessed 26 Nov. 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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