abet

verb \ ə-ˈbet \
Updated on: 1 Dec 2017

Definition of abet

abetted; abetting
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

abetment

play \-mənt\ noun

abettor

or less commonly abetter play \ə-ˈbe-tər\ noun

Examples of abet in a Sentence

  1. She abetted the thief in his getaway.

  2. Did he abet the commission of a crime?

  3. Their actions were shown to abet terrorism.

Recent Examples of abet from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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 1bait

Synonym Discussion of 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


Law Dictionary

abet

transitive verb \ ə-ˈbet \

legal Definition of abet

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

also abetter play \ə-ˈbe-tər\ noun


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up abet? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

of, relating to, or being an oracle

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman-tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!