ab·​ne·​ga·​tion | \ ˌab-ni-ˈgā-shən How to pronounce abnegation (audio) \

Definition of abnegation

: denial especially : self-denial Monks practice abnegation of the material aspects of human life.

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Did You Know?

Abnegation plays an important part in the teachings of all the major religions. The founder of Buddhism was a prince who gave up all his worldly goods when he discovered the world of poverty that lay outside the palace gates, and abnegation has been a Buddhism practice ever since. Hinduism has an even older tradition of abnegation. Special periods of abnegation and fasting may even be included in a religion's yearly calendar; serious Christians give up some pleasure for the 40-day period of Lent, for instance, and Muslims are forbidden to eat during daylight hours during the month of Ramadan.

Examples of abnegation in a Sentence

the couple's sudden abnegation of life in the fast lane for work as missionaries stunned everyone
Recent Examples on the Web To belong to one tribe, people accept an outsize and sometimes irrational portion of responsibility for their own safety and that of others through self-abnegation and personal fastidiousness. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, "The Pandemic Broke America’s Understanding of Safety," 26 Oct. 2020 From guilt to mourning and self-abnegation to resolve, Yom Kippur is the emotional climax of the Jewish faith’s High Holidays. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "Why Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the Jewish year," 25 Sep. 2020 Rather than forge a signature style, Goya practiced a temperamental abnegation of anything usual. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "Goya and the Art of Survival," 14 Sep. 2020 It’s what music and media corporations and academicians fought for: black and female self-abnegation. Armond White, National Review, "Megan, Cardi, and Kamala Make Bad History," 14 Aug. 2020 The imitation of moral precepts—as opposed to Chinese-style imitation of technology—required a degree of self-abnegation. The Economist, "The ironies of revolution A love affair with liberal democracy that soured," 9 Jan. 2020 In an unusual act of self-abnegation, politicians ceded power to the technocrats as the only way to stop themselves from printing money. Gerard Baker, WSJ, "The Fall of the Priesthood of Central Banking," 12 July 2019 Chris Ware has a deadpan self-abnegation that is, by all accounts, genuine. Jason Lutes, The New York Review of Books, "Sarah Boxer," 7 Mar. 2019 Faye’s absence reads like the self-abnegation of a soul trying to atone for something. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "The Empty Space of Rachel Cusk," 15 June 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for abnegation

Middle English abnegacioun, borrowed from Late Latin abnegātiōn-, abnegātiō, from Latin abnegāre "to refute, decline, deny" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of action nouns — more at abnegate

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Time Traveler for abnegation

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The first known use of abnegation was in the 14th century

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Cite this Entry

“Abnegation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abnegation. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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