\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

Keep scrolling for more

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



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

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 Democrats on the panel panned the report’s conclusions and accused their GOP colleagues of abetting Trump’s effort to discredit investigators, including special counsel Robert Mueller. Massimo Calabresi, Time, "Former Intelligence Chiefs Explain How President Trump Sows Distrust to His Advantage," 31 May 2018 If the car is registered to you, you can be charged with aiding and abetting. Kathleen Purvis And Myah Ward, charlotteobserver, "Here's what you need to know about drunk driving in the Carolinas," 29 June 2018 AggregateIQ has been accused by members of Canadian parliament of aiding and abetting crimes of data and technology in the UK and the US. David Carroll, WIRED, "The US Should Pay Attention to Foreign Cambridge Analytica Probes," 15 June 2018 Clifford accuses Davidson of breach of fiduciary duty and Cohen of aiding and abetting Davidson’s disloyalty toward her. Edvard Pettersson, Bloomberg.com, "Stormy Daniels Says Her Former Lawyer Colluded With Michael Cohen," 6 June 2018 To prove Salman aided and abetted Mateen, prosecutors had to show jurors that Salman knew of her husband’s plan and helped him prepare. Gal Tziperman Lotan, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Noor Salman trial: Pulse was not gunman Omar Mateen's 1st target, prosecutor says," 28 Mar. 2018 This was a show built for dancing, with Monae herself in the lead role, abetted by four athletic accomplices and a five-piece co-ed backing band. Greg Kot, chicagotribune.com, "Janelle Monae at the Chicago Theatre: Outcasts unite," 6 July 2018 Karem Kawamura, 25, pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston on Monday to aiding and abetting the use of a counterfeit access device, prosecutors said in a statement. Alana Levene, BostonGlobe.com, "Brazilian woman pleads guilty in ATM scam, will be deported," 26 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about abet

Phrases Related to abet

aiding and abetting

Statistics for abet

Last Updated

16 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for abet

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on abet

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


a generally accepted meaning of a word

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Dictionary Devil

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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