ab·​ne·​gate | \ ˈab-ni-ˌgāt How to pronounce abnegate (audio) \
abnegated; abnegating

Definition of abnegate

transitive verb

1 formal : deny, renounce abnegated their God
2 formal : surrender, relinquish abnegated her powers

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Other Words from abnegate

abnegator \ ˈab-​ni-​ˌgā-​tər How to pronounce abnegator (audio) \ noun, formal

Abnegate Has Latin Roots

There's no denying that the Latin root negare has given English some useful words. That verb, which means "to deny," is the ultimate source of the noun "abnegation," a synonym of "denial" that began appearing in English manuscripts in the 14th century. By the 17th century, people had concluded that if there was a noun "abnegation," there ought to be a related verb "abnegate," and so they created one by a process called "back-formation" (that's the process of trimming a suffix or prefix off a long word to make a shorter one). But "abnegate" and "abnegation" are not the only English offspring of "negare." That root is also an ancestor of other nay-saying terms such as "deny," "negate," and "renegade."

Examples of abnegate in a Sentence

abnegated all claims to the deceased lord's domain felt that if the Congress adopted these security measures, it would be abnegating the nation's fundamental commitment to individual rights
Recent Examples on the Web Abnegating this responsibility is going against the will of the people and we were voted in to protect the interests of the people. Jan Engoren, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Soil and Water Conservation District opposes Ag Reserve proposal," 6 July 2017

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

First Known Use of abnegate

1543, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for abnegate

borrowed from Latin abnegātus, past participle of abnegāre "to refute, decline, deny," from ab- ab- + negāre "to say no, deny" — more at negate

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Time Traveler for abnegate

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The first known use of abnegate was in 1543

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Cite this Entry

“Abnegate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abnegate. Accessed 11 Aug. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on abnegate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for abnegate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with abnegate

Nglish: Translation of abnegate for Spanish Speakers

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