abetted; abetting

transitive verb

: to actively second and encourage (something, such as an activity or plan)
abet the commission of a crime
: to assist or support (someone) in the achievement of a purpose
The singer was abetted by a skillful accompanist.
especially : to assist, encourage, instigate, or support with criminal intent in attempting or carrying out a crime
often used in the phrase aid and abet
accused of aiding and abetting a criminal
abetment noun
abettor noun
or less commonly abetter
Choose the Right Synonym for abet

incite, instigate, abet, foment mean to spur to action.

incite stresses a stirring up and urging on, and may or may not imply initiating.

inciting a riot

instigate definitely implies responsibility for initiating another's action and often connotes underhandedness or evil intention.

instigated a conspiracy

abet implies both assisting and encouraging.

aiding and abetting the enemy

foment implies persistence in goading.

fomenting rebellion

Examples of abet in a Sentence

She abetted the thief in his getaway. Did he abet the commission of a crime? Their actions were shown to abet terrorism.
Recent Examples on the Web Perhaps' one of their most significant wins was halting funding for UNRWA, a United Nations relief agency that is providing aid to Palestinians in Gaza after Israel's allegations that 12 of the agency's staffers abetted Hamas' Oct. 7 attack. Ken Tran, USA TODAY, 22 Mar. 2024 Police are separately investigating five senior members of the Korean Medical Association, which represents doctors in South Korea, for allegedly inciting and abetting the strikes. Hyung-Jin Kim, Quartz, 19 Mar. 2024 The allegations raise new questions about how strictly social media platforms should vet users — after the Supreme Court ruled just last year that the platform formerly known as Twitter was not responsible for abetting a terrorist attack. Adi Robertson, The Verge, 14 Feb. 2024 Did Trump engage in insurrection by plotting to overturn the 2020 election or by riling up a mob on January 6 and then abetting their destruction? Thomas A. Berry, National Review, 8 Feb. 2024 Romano’s book is designed to abet a case for the Voice as a kind of nexus of twentieth-century incident, and most chapters offer an inside history of familiar events. Michelle Orange, The New Yorker, 1 Mar. 2024 But it has been abetted, in the past few years, by a few factors. Jonah Weiner, New York Times, 3 Mar. 2024 Even before releasing the Sports app, Apple has quietly abetted this. Jacob Stern, The Atlantic, 2 Mar. 2024 Egyptian officials, meanwhile, have said this would end hopes for a future Palestinian state, something Cairo doesn't want to be seen as facilitating or abetting. Aya Batrawy, NPR, 26 Feb. 2024

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

Word History


Middle English abetten, borrowed from Anglo-French abeter, from a-, prefix in transitive verbs (going back to Latin ad- ad-) + beter "to harass (a bear with dogs), bait," borrowed from Old Low Franconian *bētan; akin to Old English bǣtan "to set upon (with animals), bait" — more at bait entry 1

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of abet was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near abet

Cite this Entry

“Abet.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abet. Accessed 12 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


abetted; abetting
: to actively encourage or aid
abetment noun
abettor noun
also abetter

Legal Definition


transitive verb
abetted; abetting
: to assist, encourage, instigate, or support with criminal intent in attempting or carrying out a crime
often used in the phrase aid and abet
abetment noun
abettor noun
also abetter

More from Merriam-Webster on abet

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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