abided also abode ə-ˈbōd How to pronounce abide (audio) ; abiding

transitive verb

: to bear patiently : tolerate
cannot abide such bigots
: to endure without yielding : withstand
abide the onrush of the enemy
: to wait for : await
I will abide the coming of my lord.Alfred Tennyson
: to accept without objection
will abide your decision

intransitive verb

: to remain stable or fixed in a state
a love that abided with him all his days
: to continue in a place : sojourn
will abide in the house of the Lord
abider noun
abide by
: to conform to
abide by the rules
: to accept without objection : to acquiesce in
will abide by your decision

Did you know?

Abide has abided in the English language since before the 12th century, picking up along the way several meanings and inflections that are now rare or no longer in use. For instance, one of abide’s former meanings was “to stop” and its former past participle was abidden (whereas we now use abided or abode). Today, abide often turns up in the phrase “can't abide” to say that someone cannot tolerate or accept something. The expression abide by, which means “to accept and be guided by (something),” is also common. Related terms include abiding, meaning “continuing for a long time” or “not changing” (as in “an abiding friendship”), abidance (“continuance” or “the act or process of doing what you have been asked or ordered to do”), and abode (“the place where someone lives”).

Did you know?

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.”

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Example Sentences

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
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
abide in the house of the Lord a love that abided till the end of their lives
Recent Examples on the Web Höller can’t abide the idea of a chef or diner tainting the unique flavor of any single ingredient by combining them on the plate or fork. Adam Robb, Condé Nast Traveler, 11 May 2022 Napoleon was surprised about the pope’s intransigence, as both Protestants and Jews had agreed to abide by Napoleon’s vision, which placed the state at the center of things. Zenger News, Forbes, 26 Jan. 2023 In December, as a result of an investigation by the Labor Department and a civil suit filed against the company by the government, PSSI agreed to a consent order with the department and agreed to abide by child labor laws. Laura Strickler, NBC News, 19 Jan. 2023 Cardi also agreed to abide by orders of protection covering the two victims in the case – bartending sisters known as Jade and Baddie Gi. Nancy Dillon, Rolling Stone, 15 Sep. 2022 Change is in the air, but unlike New Year’s resolutions, Americans will have to abide by new laws in 2023 that were passed by state legislatures and approved by governors, or ballot measures passed by voters. Adeel Hassan, New York Times, 3 Jan. 2023 This is mostly because TikTok's parent company ByteDance is based in China and therefore has to abide by that country's notoriously intrusive national security laws. Wired Staff, WIRED, 26 Jan. 2023 Planners with certain designations must meet specific educational and employment requirements and agree to abide by a code of ethics. Michelle Singletary, Washington Post, 20 Jan. 2023 Musk may now be Chief Twit, but the company still has to abide by its previous obligations. David Meyer, Fortune, 9 Dec. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abide.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English abiden, going back to Old English abīdan, from a-, perfective prefix + bīdan "to bide, wait"; a- (also ā-, ǣ- under stress in nominal derivatives) akin to Old Frisian a-, perfective prefix, Old Saxon ā-, ō- (unstressed a-) and probably to Old English or- "outward, extreme, lacking (in nominal compounds)," Old Frisian & Old Saxon ur-, or-, Old High German ar-, ir-, er- unstressed inchoative verb prefix, ur "out of, away from," Old Norse ūr-, ör-, "out of, from," ør-, privative prefix, Gothic us- "out of," us-, privative and perfective prefix; if from pre-Germanic *ud-s- akin to Old English ūt "out" — more at out entry 1, bide

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of abide was before the 12th century


Dictionary Entries Near abide

Cite this Entry

“Abide.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abide. Accessed 20 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


abode -ˈbōd How to pronounce abide (audio) or abided; abiding
: to wait for
: to bear patiently : tolerate
: last entry 1 sense 1, endure
an abiding friendship
: to live or continue in a place : dwell
abider noun

Legal Definition


transitive verb
abode or abided; abiding
: to accept without objection

More from Merriam-Webster on abide

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