abnegation

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

Definition of abnegation

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

Keep scrolling for more

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 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 The systematic vilification of facts and expertise, the violent abnegation of diverse thought, the constant blasts of paranoia-stoking crime reports and patriotic soundbites on an inescapable news network—could this be more now? Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "Fahrenheit 451 Tackles the Evils of Social Media," 19 May 2018 The individual photographs tell us virtually nothing, just as journalistic pictures are often empty of independent meaning, but the succession of images, page-by-page, is a steady beat of abnegation and self-abuse in the name of art. Charles Desmarais, San Francisco Chronicle, "Gagosian Gallery trains its lens on photography," 2 May 2018 The trend manages to cram a tremendous number of tedious affectations into tight quarters: design fetishism, ostentatious minimalism, costly self-abnegation. Willy Staley, New York Times, "When ‘Gentrification’ Isn’t About Housing," 23 Jan. 2018 For others, a drink is a way to rebel against a culture in which good parenting is synonymous with self-abnegation. Elissa Strauss, CNN, "Being a heavy-drinking 'bad mom' is more worrisome than funny," 1 Nov. 2017

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about abnegation

Time Traveler for abnegation

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for abnegation

Last Updated

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Abnegation.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abnegation. Accessed 20 January 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on abnegation

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for abnegation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with abnegation

Comments on abnegation

What made you want to look up abnegation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

not to be intimidated or subdued

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!