\ 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

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Other Words from abet

abetment \ ə-​ˈbet-​mənt How to pronounce abetment (audio) \ noun
abettor or less commonly abetter \ ə-​ˈbe-​tər How to pronounce abetter (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.
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Recent Examples on the Web This is aiding and abetting someone doing something that is in clear violation of federal tax law. Peter Elkind, ProPublica, "Meet the Shadowy Accountants Who Do Trump’s Taxes and Help Him Seem Richer Than He Is," 8 May 2020 He was found guilty of aiding and abetting the attacker and sending money to al-Qaida in Yemen. NBC News, "Saudi Arabia executes man who attacked Spanish dance troupe," 16 Apr. 2020 He was found to have aided and abetted a hostile work environment. USA TODAY, "Corrections & Clarifications 2017," 27 Apr. 2020 But wartime censors in the U.S., United Kingdom and France did their part, tamping down news of the flu’s reach and severity to avoid sparking panic or abetting the enemy’s cause. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, "D.X. Bible brought ‘Chick’ Harrison home from ashes of war, pandemic in a tale that serves as a lesson for modern-day trials," 19 Apr. 2020 Moreover, the president charged WHO with abetting China in a disinformation campaign about the coronavirus’s origins and subsequent cover-up of the outbreak – actions Mr. Trump said worsened the impact of the virus outside China. Howard Lafranchi, The Christian Science Monitor, "Beneath Trump-WHO spat, a US-China race for leadership," 16 Apr. 2020 In February, officers used brutal force against anti-government demonstrators and turned a blind eye to – and in some cases seemingly abetted – a wave of mob violence that terrorized Muslim neighborhoods in Delhi. Paul Friesen, The Conversation, "Coronavirus versus democracy: 5 countries where emergency powers risk abuse," 6 Apr. 2020 No less harsh, in this prediction, will be history’s judgment of those who abetted Trump’s evils, who failed to stand up to him, who didn’t support impeachment and removal, even citizens who didn’t sufficiently resist. William Hogeland, The New Republic, "History Won’t Save Us," 25 Mar. 2020 This is a longstanding grievance: that Modi’s ruling political party, which is rooted in a Hindu-nationalist worldview, has taken sides and abetted violent religious extremists. Suhasini Raj, BostonGlobe.com, "New Delhi streets turn into battleground during Trump’s visit," 25 Feb. 2020

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.

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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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Time Traveler for abet

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for abet

Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Abet.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abet. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for abet

\ 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 abetter (audio) \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on abet

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for abet

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with abet

Spanish Central: Translation of abet

Nglish: Translation of abet for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abet for Arabic Speakers

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