verb \ə-ˈbīd\

Definition of abide


play \-ˈbōd\ or




  1. transitive verb
  2. 1a :  to bear patiently :  tolerate cannot abide such bigotsb :  to endure without yielding :  withstand abide the onrush of the enemy

  3. 2 :  to wait for :  await I will abide the coming of my lord. — Alfred Tennyson

  4. 3 :  to accept without objection will abide your decision

  5. intransitive verb
  6. 1 :  to remain stable or fixed in a state a love that abode with him all his days

  7. 2 :  to continue in a place :  sojourn will abide in the house of the Lord



abide by

  1. 1 :  to conform to abide by the rules

  2. 2 :  to accept without objection :  to acquiesce in will abide by your decision

abide was our Word of the Day on 10/21/2012. Hear the podcast!

Examples of abide in a sentence

  1. Now his anger had poisoned all relationships, no one could be put in the two empty beds in the room, and not even his long-suffering sister could abide him in her house. —Peter Pouncey, Rules for Old Men Waiting, 2005

  2. A former party functionary, Yeltsin replaced Communist ideology with a supremely simplified vision of democracy, which boiled down to two tenets: He could not abide Communists, and he supported freedom of the press. —Masha Gessen, New Republic, 5 June 2000

  3. abide in the house of the Lord

  4. a love that abided till the end of their lives

The Use of abide in Literature and Popular Culture

The comments by users of this dictionary suggest that many people who are interested in the meaning of the word abide are motivated by one of two rather distinct things: the Bible, in which, for instance, Jesus calls upon his followers to "abide in me"; and the movie The Big Lebowski, in which Jeffrey Lebowski (aka "The Dude") proclaims that "The Dude abides." Both the movie and the book have done much to keep the word in general current usage. Though the sources are wildly different, in each of these particular examples, abide is used as it is defined at the first intransitive sense: "to remain stable or fixed in a state." In the phrase "abide in me," Jesus is asking his followers to stay constant in their relationship to him. The exact meaning of "The Dude abides" is a topic of some debate, but clearly there is some notion of the constancy of Lebowski himself—metaphysically perhaps—being asserted.

Although the phrase can’t abide has for some the feeling of a modern colloquialism, it has been pointed out that such use dates back at least as far as Shakespeare: in Henry IV, Part II, Falstaff says “she would always say she could not abide Master Shallow.”

Did You Know?

Abide may sound rather old-fashioned these days. The word has been around since before the 12th century, but it is a bit rare now, except in certain specialized uses. Even more archaic to our modern ear is "abidden," the original past participle of "abide." Today, both the past and the past participle of "abide" are served by either "abode" or "abided," with "abided" being the more frequent choice. "Abide" turns up often in the phrase "can't (or couldn't) abide." The expression "abide by," which means "to conform to" or "to acquiesce in," is also common. Related terms include the participial adjective "abiding" (which means "enduring" or "continuing," as in "an abiding interest in nature"), the noun "abidance" ("continuance" or "compliance"), and the noun "abode" ("residence").

Origin and Etymology of abide

Middle English, from Old English ābīdan, from ā-, perfective prefix + bīdan to bide; akin to Old High German ir-, perfective prefix — more at bide

First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of abide

bear, suffer, endure, abide, tolerate, stand mean to put up with something trying or painful. bear usually implies the power to sustain without flinching or breaking forced to bear a tragic loss. suffer often suggests acceptance or passivity rather than courage or patience in bearing suffering many insults. endure implies continuing firm or resolute through trials and difficulties endured years of rejection. abide suggests acceptance without resistance or protest cannot abide their rudeness. tolerate suggests overcoming or successfully controlling an impulse to resist, avoid, or resent something injurious or distasteful refused to tolerate such treatment. stand emphasizes even more strongly the ability to bear without discomposure or flinching unable to stand teasing.

continue, last, endure, abide, persist mean to exist over a period of time or indefinitely. continue applies to a process going on without ending the search for peace will continue. last, especially when unqualified, may stress existing beyond what is normal or expected buy shoes that will last. endure adds an implication of resisting destructive forces or agencies in spite of everything, her faith endured. abide implies stable and constant existing especially as opposed to mutability a love that abides through 40 years of marriage. persist suggests outlasting the normal or appointed time and often connotes obstinacy or doggedness the sense of guilt persisted.

ABIDE Defined for English Language Learners


verb \ə-ˈbīd\

Definition of abide for English Language Learners

  • : to accept or bear (someone or something bad, unpleasant, etc.)

  • : to stay or live somewhere

  • : to remain or continue

ABIDE Defined for Kids


verb \ə-ˈbīd\

Definition of abide for Students


\-ˈbōd\ or




  1. 1 :  to put up with patiently :  tolerate They won't abide bad behavior.

  2. 2 :  1last 1, endure His love for his work abided until he died.

  3. 3 :  to stay or live in a place … I shall abide near her all through the night. — E. B. White, The Trumpet of the Swan

abide by

  1. :  to accept the terms of :  obey She was forced to abide by the rules.

Law Dictionary


transitive verb

Legal Definition of abide





  1. :  to accept without objection

abide by

  1. :  to act or behave in accordance with or in obedience to

Seen and Heard

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