ab·​hor | \ əb-ˈhȯr How to pronounce abhor (audio) , ab- \
abhorred; abhorring

Definition of abhor

transitive verb

: to regard with extreme repugnance : to feel hatred or loathing for : loathe abhorred violence

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Other Words from abhor

abhorrer \ əb-​ˈhȯr-​ər How to pronounce abhor (audio) , ab-​ \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for abhor



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Choose the Right Synonym for abhor

hate, detest, abhor, abominate, loathe mean to feel strong aversion or intense dislike for. hate implies an emotional aversion often coupled with enmity or malice. hated the enemy with a passion detest suggests violent antipathy. detests cowards abhor implies a deep often shuddering repugnance. a crime abhorred by all abominate suggests strong detestation and often moral condemnation. abominates all forms of violence loathe implies utter disgust and intolerance. loathed the mere sight of them

The Horror in Abhor

Abhor means “to loathe” or “to hate,” and while loathe and hate have roots in Old English, abhor derives from Latin. The roots of abhor can give us a deeper understanding of both the strength of the dislike expressed by the word and its relationship to other words in English. It came from the Latin word abhorrēre, which meant “to recoil from” or “to be repugnant to,” and was formed by combining ab-, meaning “from” and horrēre, meaning “to bristle,” “to tremble,” or “to shudder.” This word for trembling or shuddering in reaction to something scary or awful is related to the word that names of the cause of those reactions—the Latin word horror, which was later borrowed into English. The -hor of abhor is also the hor- of horror.

Examples of abhor in a Sentence

We believe we know that Americans abhor extremes and mistrust ideology. — David Frum, Atlantic, March 1995 I abhor latter-day, modishly camp take-offs of my cherished boyhood heroes and heroines (Little Orphan Annie, Wonder Woman, Invisible Scarlet O'Neil). — Mordecai Richler, New York Times Book Review, 3 May 1987 He abhorred grandiosity. When he came to New York to revise his manuscripts and galley proofs, he would hole up in a little cubicle on the attic floor of the old 52nd Street mansion that went by the name of Random House. — Norman Cousins, Saturday Review, April 1981 abhors the way people leave their trash at the picnic sites in the park
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Recent Examples on the Web Liberals particularly abhor monetary trade-offs that result in people getting hurt, especially people who are disadvantaged. Karen Tibbals, STAT, "Moral foundations theory can help rehabilitate pharma’s image," 4 Nov. 2020 Although most players abhor the preseason, there is a ramp-up element to it, a way to get bodies (and minds) ready for the punishment of the real season. Ann Killion, SFChronicle.com, "With more grim injury news, 49ers’ short week does them no favors," 2 Nov. 2020 But not everyone — even those who abhor Trump — think that voting is the answer. Erin Corbett, refinery29.com, "Is There A Moral Argument Against Voting? For Some People, Yes," 29 Oct. 2020 Of course, many working parents, kids in elementary, junior, and high school, and those in other fields abhor remote schooling–with good reasons. Susan Shapiro, Wired, "What Teaching Online Classes Taught Me About Remote Learning," 22 Sep. 2020 As a 20-year baseball man, Corey Ragsdale was fully prepared to do the noble thing last year as a minor league manager and absolutely abhor the extra-inning rule. Dallas News, "MLB’s new extra-inning rule presents Rangers with unique chances and challenges," 12 July 2020 The idea of harming an innocent person, for any reason, abhors most of us, no matter our ethical stance. Daniel Burke, CNN, "The dangerous morality behind the 'Open it Up' movement," 23 Apr. 2020 Because politics abhors a vacuum, Sanders became the anti-Hillary candidate and the leader of a movement that, four years later, threatens to take over the Democratic Party. Rich Lowry, National Review, "The Democratic Establishment Is Awful at Picking Candidates," 11 Feb. 2020 The important yet under-told story in America is that politics does abhor a vacuum, and taxpayers get sucked out of the blue states, to be deposited in more tax friendly states, like Florida, Texas, Indiana, Tennessee. John Kass, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Imagine a day without Republicans. It’s not hard, if you live in Chicago.," 23 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abhor.' 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 abhor

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for abhor

Middle English abhorren, borrowed from Latin abhorrēre, from ab- ab- + horrēre "to bristle, shiver, shudder" — more at horror entry 1

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Time Traveler for abhor

Time Traveler

The first known use of abhor was in the 15th century

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Statistics for abhor

Cite this Entry

“Abhor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abhor. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for abhor


ab·​hor | \ ab-ˈhȯr How to pronounce abhor (audio) \
abhorred; abhorring

Kids Definition of abhor

: to dislike very much : loathe He abhorred the idea of eating live worms …— Brian Jacques, Redwall

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