\ ə-ˈbet How to pronounce abet (audio) \
abetted; abetting

Definition of abet

transitive verb

1 : to actively second and encourage (something, such as an activity or plan) abet the commission of a crime
2 : 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

Other Words from abet

abetment \ ə-​ˈbet-​mənt How to pronounce abet (audio) \ noun
abettor or less commonly abetter \ ə-​ˈbe-​tər How to pronounce abet (audio) \ noun

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 Even supposedly revolutionary technologies abet this impulse. Michael Friedrich, The Atlantic, 25 July 2022 Kerr, whose father, Malcolm, was assassinated when Steve Kerr was in college, is an outspoken critic of gun violence and of the politicians who abet it. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, 24 May 2022 Trump has long complained about Kemp, who did nothing to abet Trump's effort to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia. Zachary B. Wolf, CNN, 6 Jan. 2022 Beyond clinicians and regulators, Purdue Pharma found many to abet its criminal scheme, including pharmacies and drug distributors who flooded small towns with mountains of opioids. Haider J. Warraich, STAT, 20 Sep. 2021 Attorney Elizabeth Myers, who represents those plaintiffs, said the orders granted by Meachum wouldn’t stop Texas Right to Life or other injunctive defendants from suing other parties that abet in abortions when the law goes into effect. Dallas News, 31 Aug. 2021 Trump wanted to leverage federal law enforcement to abet his reelection bid. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, 3 July 2021 Polls reveal shockingly high levels of isolation and loneliness among the U.S. population, conditions that are known to make people more susceptible the destructive, paranoid conspiracy theories that abet the right wing. Astra Taylor, The New Republic, 6 May 2021 Coopting the appeal of sweatsuit comfort, this set adds enough polish to aid and abet your return to in-person plans. Katharine K. Zarrella, WSJ, 24 Apr. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abet.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of abet

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for abet

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

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

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Last Updated

9 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Abet.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abet. Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for abet


transitive verb
\ ə-ˈbet How to pronounce abet (audio) \
abetted; abetting

Legal Definition of abet

: to assist, encourage, instigate, or support with criminal intent in attempting or carrying out a crime often used in the phrase aid and abet

Other Words from abet

abetment noun
abettor also abetter \ ə-​ˈbe-​tər How to pronounce abet (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on abet

Nglish: Translation of abet for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abet for Arabic Speakers


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