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 That forced the House to abandon its more progressive version of the Affordable Care Act and pass a stingier bill that had already cleared the Senate. New York Times, "‘We May Not Have a Full Two Years’: Democrats’ Plans Hinge on Good Health," 10 May 2021 At one point, drivers on Interstate 5, which was closed for several days, were forced to abandon their vehicles to flee the blaze. Los Angeles Times, "Woman charged with starting 63,000-acre Delta wildfire in 2018," 5 May 2021 Ashbrook prepared a civil complaint against the village, because it was being forced to abandon its contract with Groot and use SBC’s waste hauling services, Eck said. Kimberly Fornek, chicagotribune.com, "Indian Head Park townhome association sues waste hauler," 9 Mar. 2021 The men were forced to abandon the vessel and build a rudimentary cabin on land from bits of the ship and flotsam scavenged from the shore. Star Tribune, "Review: 'Icebound: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World,' by Andrea Pitzer," 8 Jan. 2021 Forced to abandon a Dec. 5 home game against Washington and relocate to Seattle, the Cardinal spent the week in improvisation mode. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "From Buster Posey’s opt-out to the Arizona 49ers: Only-in-2020 sports moments," 26 Dec. 2020 In 2015, he was forced to abandon the Transat Jacques Vabre yacht race after his sailboat struck plastic debris in the Bay of Gascogne. Julia Zaltzman, Robb Report, "Boat of the Week: This 185-Foot Sea-Cleaning Sailboat Collects up to 3 Tons of Ocean Garbage per Hour," 23 Apr. 2021 The boy’s family sued, saying Mr. Robinson had spread falsehoods that forced them to abandon their home in the face of threats. New York Times, "U.K. Far Right, Lifted by Trump, Now Turns to Russia," 23 Apr. 2021 Fortunately the pandemic forced the federation to abandon that idea. Ian Nicholas Quillen, Forbes, "Proposed European Super League Is Not A Closed System Like Major League Soccer. It’s Worse," 19 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun With the ultimate quantity of the coin limited, while dollars can be, and are being, manufactured with abandon, inflation makes this virtual currency into a safe haven. William Baldwin, Forbes, "Meet The Inflation Profiteers," 12 May 2021 The key is Barnett’s attacking each race with reckless abandon — after a year of witnessing how quickly things could be taken away. Luca Evans, Los Angeles Times, "Crescenta Valley’s Mia Barnett realizes she has nothing to lose," 30 Apr. 2021 But the revelers stayed near the beach, tore through the streets and partied with reckless abandon. Patrick Connolly, orlandosentinel.com, "Daytona Bike Week at 80: Motorcycle celebration expands beyond outlaw biker image," 5 Mar. 2021 His playing draws out such a wide breadth of ethereal emotions, fiery passion yet pensive, wild abandon yet soft and contemplative. Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune, "30 essential Black musicians who defined Minnesota's sound," 27 Feb. 2021 Meanwhile, President Trump feels free to personally intervene in individual business decisions with unprecedented abandon—his role in the TikTok deal being only the latest example. David Meyer, Fortune, "President Trump has failed the test of modern leadership," 19 Oct. 2020 The vlogs are enjoyably chaotic, as the amatuer knitters weave away with abandon, haphazardly modifying patterns through a dramatic dance of trial and error or freestyling altogether. Leah Dolan, CNN, "Crochet culture is the internet trend that's both soothing and sustainable," 29 Apr. 2021 This was where perfectly ordinary English people seemed to lead a kind of double life, an existence that, in its strange abandon and abnormality, appeared almost criminally intense. James Wood, The New Yorker, "Does Knowing God Just Take Practice?," 2 Nov. 2020 And soon, maybe people will be able to safely gather and put their hands all over a communal pizza, licking their fingers clean with abandon. Dallas News, "Cane Rosso chef offers a tangy, spicy recipe for Easter leftovers," 2 Apr. 2021

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 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Abandon.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abandon. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for abandon

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 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.

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

Comments on abandon

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