ab·​jure | \ ab-ˈju̇r How to pronounce abjure (audio) \
abjured; abjuring

Definition of abjure

transitive verb

1 formal
a : to renounce upon oath He abjured his allegiance to his former country.
b : to reject solemnly She abjured her old beliefs.
2 formal : to abstain from : avoid abjure extravagance

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Other Words from abjure

abjurer noun, formal

Choose the Right Synonym for abjure

abjure, renounce, forswear, recant, retract mean to withdraw one's word or professed belief. abjure implies a firm and final rejecting or abandoning often made under oath. abjured the errors of his former faith renounce may carry the meaning of disclaim or disown. renounced abstract art and turned to portrait painting forswear may add an implication of perjury or betrayal. I cannot forswear my principles recant stresses the withdrawing or denying of something professed or taught. if they recant they will be spared retract applies to the withdrawing of a promise, an offer, or an accusation. the newspaper had to retract the story

Did You Know?

Just as a jury swears to produce an unbiased verdict, and a witness swears to tell the truth on pain of perjury, those who abjure their former ways "swear them away." "Abjure" (as well as "jury" and "perjury") comes from Latin jurare, which means "to swear" (and which in turn is based on the root jus, meaning "law"), plus the prefix ab-, meaning "away." These days, we can casually abjure (that is, abstain from) vices such as smoking or overeating, but in the 15th and 16th centuries to abjure was a matter of renouncing something under oath-and sometimes a matter of life and death. For example, during the Spanish Inquisition, individuals were given the choice between abjuring unacceptable beliefs and being burned at the stake.

Examples of abjure in a Sentence

abjured some long-held beliefs when she converted to another religion a strict religious sect that abjures the luxuries, comforts, and conveniences of the modern world
Recent Examples on the Web Generally, Majumdar abjures commentary and interior analysis in favor of incident, the decisive ramifications of action. James Wood, The New Yorker, "A Début Novel’s Immersive Urgency," 1 June 2020 Passionately denouncing the inequity of his time, Francis of Assisi abjured his wealth and joined the beggars. Karen Armstrong, New York Times, "Was Dorothy Day a Saint or a Subversive?," 3 Mar. 2020 On the other hand, the policy exempts parody and satire, which would seem to require precisely the kind of interpretive judgment that the company abjures to the point of outsourcing fact-checking to third parties. Gilad Edelman, Wired, "Facebook’s Deepfake Ban Is a Solution to a Distant Problem," 7 Jan. 2020 But even in less dire cases, to abjure concern for one’s health — let alone to encourage others to do so — is deeply irresponsible. Jack Butler, National Review, "Destroying Your Lungs to Own the Libs," 7 Nov. 2019 Article 9 commits Japan to pacifism and to abjuring the maintenance of armed forces—which the existence of the country’s Self-Defence Forces (SDF) clearly breaches. The Economist, "Can Shinzo Abe change Japan’s basic law?," 10 Aug. 2019 That trenchant rhyme is an outlier among Mr. Cale’s lyrics, which generally abjure technical polish in favor of imagery and emotion. New York Times, "Review: Surviving a Family From Hell in ‘We’re Only Alive’," 27 June 2019 Riders abjure helmets, and a strict rule that two people may never share one scooter is strictly ignored throughout. Alan Behr, chicagotribune.com, "When Paris does what it does best," 20 Aug. 2019 Most dramatically, Lara meets an artist unlike the others — a German Dadaist who has abjured silly painterly posturing for serious aesthetic discipline (and sculpture). Globe Correspondent, BostonGlobe.com, "Guggenheim-inspired ‘Costalegre’ is a smart and sentimental journey into adolescence," 24 July 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for abjure

Middle English abjuren, borrowed from Anglo-French & Medieval Latin; Anglo-French abjurer, borrowed from Medieval Latin abjūrāre, "to repudiate, renounce (a right or claim), swear to stay away from," going back to Latin, "to deny knowledge of falsely under oath, repudiate," from ab- ab- + jūrāre "to swear" — more at jury entry 1

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

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Last Updated

14 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Abjure.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abjure. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for abjure

ab·​jure | \ ab-ˈju̇r, əb- How to pronounce abjure (audio) \
abjured; abjuring

Legal Definition of abjure

: renounce specifically : to disclaim formally or renounce upon oath solemnly abjures his allegiance to his former country

Other Words from abjure

abjuration \ ˌab-​jə-​ˈrā-​shən How to pronounce abjuration (audio) \ noun

History and Etymology for abjure

Latin abjurare, from ab- off + jurare to swear

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More from Merriam-Webster on abjure

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for abjure

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with abjure

Spanish Central: Translation of abjure

Nglish: Translation of abjure for Spanish Speakers

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