\ ə-ˈbāt \
abated; abating

Definition of abate 

intransitive verb

1 : to decrease in force or intensity waiting for the storm to abate

2a : to become defeated or become null or void (as of a writ or appeal)

b : to decrease in amount or value The legacies abated proportionately.

transitive verb

1a : to put an end to abate a nuisance

b : nullify sense 1 abate a writ

2a : to reduce in degree or intensity : moderate may abate their rancor to win peace

b : to reduce in value or amount : to make less especially by way of relief abate a tax

3 : deduct, omit abate part of the price

4a : to beat down or cut away so as to leave a figure in relief

b obsolete : blunt

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Other words from abate

abater noun

Choose the Right Synonym for abate

abate, subside, wane, ebb mean to die down in force or intensity. abate stresses the idea of progressive diminishing. the storm abated subside implies the ceasing of turbulence or agitation. the protests subsided after a few days wane suggests the fading or weakening of something good or impressive. waning enthusiasm ebb suggests the receding of something (such as the tide) that commonly comes and goes. the ebbing of daylight

synonyms see in addition decrease

Examples of abate in a Sentence

For a while, in the Cold War's aftermath, the public fascination for espionage may abate, though somehow I doubt it. —John le Carré, Boston Globe, 19 Nov. 1989 At about six, as the heat abated, people began to crowd the streets and marketplaces, and to fill the cafés. —Milton Viorst, New Yorker, 12 Oct. 1987 But his attitude of sullen grievance and simmering fury never abated fully. —Joseph Heller, God Knows, 1984 We waited for the wind to abate. interest in the author's home abated as her novels waned in popularity
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Recent Examples on the Web

Looking ahead, the humidity will abate during the day and the weekend looks promising with sunny skies and temperatures in the low to mid-80s. Joseph A. Gambardello, Philly.com, "Heat wave ends on a wet note in Philadelphia," 6 July 2018 The flow of asylum seekers from Central America has not noticeably abated even during the administration’s imposition of cruelties. David A. Martin, Vox, "How to fix the crisis caused by Central American asylum seekers — humanely," 2 July 2018 Both filmmaking and entertainment journalism are ruled by fierce competition for a finite number of jobs, a situation that shows no signs of abating anytime soon. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "We need more diversity in film criticism, but 'Who is this movie for?' is the wrong question to ask," 20 June 2018 So if the thunderstorms abate for a couple of days, get out your hose (early in the morning or as the sun goes down) and water away. Mark Skoneki, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Why do Central Floridians water their lawns during rain storms? Let nature keep the grass green," 6 July 2018 With the controversy over the separations only partly abated, no senior administration official went on the Sunday news-talk shows to defend the White House’s actions, as would be normal practice when a major policy issue is involved. Laura King, latimes.com, "Administration says it has a plan to reunite immigrant families; Democrats are skeptical," 25 June 2018 Oil retreated from its highest close in more than three years as Middle East tensions abated on speculation that U.S.-led military intervention in Syria won't go beyond the weekend's missile strikes. Grant Smith, Houston Chronicle, "Oil slips on speculation Syria intervention will be limited," 16 Apr. 2018 Jones said residents would be afforded due process and the right to appeal before the city abates the nuisance condition. Beth Mlady, cleveland.com, "Berea officials consider adding problematic trees to nuisance conditions law," 9 Apr. 2018 Mexico suffered its most murderous year in memory in 2017 with 29,168 homicides as the longtime drug war shows few signs of abating. David Agren, USA TODAY, "Andrés Manuel López Obrador is likely to be Mexico's next president. Who is he?," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abate.' 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 abate

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for abate

Middle English abaten, borrowed from Anglo-French abatre "to strike down, fell, reduce, put an end to," from a-, prefix in transitive verbs (going back to Latin ad- ad-) + batre "to beat," going back to Latin battuere, of uncertain origin

Old French abattre, literally, to knock down, from a-, prefix stressing result + battre to beat

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Statistics for abate

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for abate

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

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More Definitions for abate



English Language Learners Definition of abate

: to become weaker : to decrease in strength


\ ə-ˈbāt \
abated; abating

Kids Definition of abate

: to make or become less The flood abated slowly.

Other words from abate

abatement \-mənt \ noun The noise continued without abatement.


\ ə-ˈbāt \
abated; abating

Legal Definition of abate 

transitive verb

1a : to put an end to or do away with abate a nuisance

b : to make void : nullify abate an action

2 : to reduce in amount especially proportionately abate a tax

intransitive verb

1 : to become defeated or become null or void when a public officer who is a party to an appeal…in an official capacity dies…the action does not abateFederal Rules of Appellate Procedure Rule 43

2 : to decrease in amount or value the legacies abated proportionately

Note: A problem arises in estate law when the amount of the bequests and devises made in a will exceeds the assets available in the estate. In such a case, some or all of the bequests and devises may have to be abated to make up the deficit. Under the Uniform Probate Code, property in the estate that is not given under the will abates first, residuary devises abate second, general devises abate third, and specific devises abate last.

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the setting in which something occurs

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