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

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 Congressional self-abnegation fits hand-in-glove with the rise of presidential governance, or the misapprehension by the public that the president, rather than the Congress, is the centerpiece of republican government. Jay Cost, National Review, "Trump’s DACA Repeal Is a Pause in the Trend toward Executive Overreach," 11 Sep. 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.

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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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Last Updated

30 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for abnegation

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

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of or relating to the heavens

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