ab·​di·​ca·​tion ˌab-di-ˈkā-shən How to pronounce abdication (audio)
plural abdications
: an act of abdicating: such as
: an act of giving up sovereign power or high office
The desire of King Edward VIII to marry divorced U.S. socialite Wallis Simpson led to the king's abdication in 1936, an event that also brought Harry, his father Prince Charles and his brother, Prince William, into the line of succession.Martha Ross
From the advent of Alexander the Great, in 332 B.C., to the abdication of King Farouk, in 1952, the country was ruled without interruption by non-Egyptians.Milton Viorst
: an act of abandoning or discarding a right, responsibility, etc.
an abdication of authority
The militants took the liberties of Europe as a sign of moral and political abdication.Fouad Ajami
When the majority throws up its hands because the problems are too tough, that's simply an abdication of responsibility.Michael S. Serrill

Examples of abdication in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Family was a key theme on Queen Margrethe’s abdication day, where the 83-year-old Queen officially stepped down as monarch by signing a declaration of her abdication during a Council of State at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 29 Jan. 2024 Anything other than a full investigation into Evanston is a complete abdication of the Department of Education’s legal responsibility to stomp out federal funding going to support racial discrimination. William E. Trachman, National Review, 4 Feb. 2024 Yet an author’s abdication can exert a powerful fascination. Julian Lucas, The New Yorker, 11 Sep. 2023 This straightforwardness regarding a sitting King’s health was unprecedented for the royals and set off chatter about abdication, protocol and succession. Kevin Dolak, The Hollywood Reporter, 29 Feb. 2024 The Eagles' abdication of the NFC East throne means the division hasn’t had a repeat champion since Philly ruled it from 2001 to ’04, the longest such streak in NFL history. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, 8 Jan. 2024 This is a serious abdication of responsibility by both the Senate and the House. Gail Lightfoot, Orange County Register, 14 Feb. 2024 The transition was made official at Christiansborg Palace on Jan. 14, when Queen Margrethe signed a declaration of her abdication with her two immediate heirs by her side. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 30 Jan. 2024 Denmark’s prime minister proclaimed Frederik X as king after his mother Queen Margrethe II formally signed her abdication. Elizabeth Both, NBC News, 15 Jan. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'abdication.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1571, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of abdication was in 1571

Dictionary Entries Near abdication

Cite this Entry

“Abdication.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abdication. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

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