variants or abye
abyed; abying or abyeing; abys or abyes

transitive verb

: to suffer a penalty for

Word History


Middle English abien, abiggen, abuggen "to pay for, obtain at the cost of labor or suffering, redeem, pay a penalty for," from a-, weak perfective prefix (going back to Old English a-) + bien, biggen "to purchase, pay for" — more at abide, buy entry 1

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of aby was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near aby

Cite this Entry

“Aby.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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