\ə-ˈbet \
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 \-​mənt \ noun
abettor or less commonly abetter \ə-​ˈbe-​tər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for abet


aid, assist, back, backstop, help, prop (up), support



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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

But women didn’t start wearing their actual underwear as outerwear until the 1980s, when the corset and bra top trend took off, with Madonna as chief instigator, aided and abetted by designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier. Nancy Mcdonell, WSJ, "The Surprisingly Rich History of Women’s Underwear as Outerwear," 13 Nov. 2018 Enron’s impressive profits and assets turned out to be inflated, manipulated or fake, abetted by Arthur Andersen, at one time among the nation’s most respected accounting firms. Jon Talton, The Seattle Times, "Jeff Skilling and a reminder that white-collar crime doesn’t have to pay," 4 Sep. 2018 But even if there was a confession, murder charges likely wouldn’t be filed if authorities determined the mother solicited, aided, abetted or consented to the act that led to the fetus death, the news station reported. Crystal Hill, sacbee, "Pregnant woman had boyfriend punch her in stomach, cops say. It may not be a crime.," 29 June 2018 While pretending to abet the hearings, Daugherty fought them tooth and nail. Kevin Baker, The New Republic, "Why America needs truth and reconciliation after Trump," 17 May 2018 Rosa was arrested and briefly jailed in July 2016 before he was charged with abetting Jeptoo with doping. Chris Chavez, SI.com, "Report: World Champion, Olympic Gold Medalist Asbel Kiprop Tests Positive For EPO," 2 May 2018 And the lack of offense against Indians pitching opened the floodgates for the never-ending Manny Machado rumor, which the local media aided and abetted. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, "Life isn't easy for Cubs at top of baseball's food chain," 23 May 2018 Negan, too, seems to understand her sorrow, and even apologizes for abetting Simon in the massacre of all of her friends. Nick Statt, The Verge, "The Walking Dead Villain Watch season 8, episode 14: Still Gotta Mean Something," 2 Apr. 2018 Getty Images The Orlando shooting provoked more second-guessing in late March, when the shooter’s widow, Noor Salman, was acquitted on charges of aiding and abetting him and obstructing justice. Eric Lichtblau, Time, "The FBI Is in Crisis. It's Worse Than You Think," 3 May 2018

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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Statistics for abet

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for abet

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

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More Definitions for abet

\ə-ˈbet \
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 \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on abet

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with abet

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for abet

Spanish Central: Translation of abet

Nglish: Translation of abet for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abet for Arabic Speakers

Comments on abet

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to enclose within walls

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