Definition of abeyance
1 : a state of temporary inactivity : suspension —used chiefly in the phrase in abeyance … new contracts on all but one existing mine … are in abeyance pending the outcome of a government inquiry to be carried out into Australia's role in the nuclear fuel cycle. — Vimala Sarma a plan that is currently being held in abeyance
2 : a lapse in succession during which there is no person in whom a title is vested an estate in abeyance
abeyantplay \-ənt\ adjective
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Examples of abeyance in a Sentence
our weekend plans were held in abeyance until we could get a weather forecast
Recent Examples of abeyance from the Web
The order would instruct Attorney General Jeff Sessions to ask the D.C. Circuit to hold the lawsuit in abeyance while EPA revises the rules, a process that will take more than a year and will inevitably face a court challenge of its own.
Tuesday’s election likely saw a surge in provisional ballots — those cast but held in abeyance until their eligibility can be verified — as election-law changes in some states left voters and poll workers alike confused about requirements.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abeyance'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
When should you use abeyance?
The Latin root of abeyance suggests one in a state of wonder or shock: baer (or baier) means "to have the mouth wide open, gape, pant." The anatomical specificity of the root, however, was not maintained in the Anglo-French words that link our word to it. Abaer (or abair), which means only "to open wide," developed into abeyaunce, which refers to a very particular kind of figurative opening: "absence of a claimant or owner, lapse in succession." The English word abeyance has both technical and general applications: a property or title "in abeyance" is in temporary limbo, waiting to be claimed by a rightful heir or owner, and plans that are "in abeyance" are waiting to be acted on.
Origin and Etymology of abeyance
borrowed from Anglo-French abeyaunce “absence of a claimant or owner, lapse in succession,” from abaer, abair “to open wide” (from a-, prefix in transitive verbs—from Latin ad- ad- — + baer, baier “to have the mouth wide open, gape, pant,” from Vulgar Latin *batāre, perhaps of imitative origin) + -ance -ance
First Known Use: 1556See Words from the same year
Medical Definition of abeyance
: temporary inactivity or suspension (as of function or a symptom)
Legal Definition of abeyance
1 : a lapse in the succession of property during which there is no person in whom title to the property is vested —usually used with in the estate was in abeyance
2 : temporary inactivity or suppression : cessation or suspension for a period of time —usually used with in or into to hold the entry of summary judgment in abeyance — J. H. Friedenthal et al.
Origin and Etymology of abeyance
Middle French abeance expectation (of a title or claimant), from abaer to expect, from a-, prefix stressing result + baer to gape, aim at
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