1 : a lapse in succession during which there is no person in whom a title is vested
2 : temporary inactivity : suspension
Did You Know?
"Abeyance" has something in common with "yawn." Today, "yawn" implies sleep or boredom, but years ago it could also signify longing or desire ("Full many men know I that yawn and gape after some fat and rich benefice"-Thomas Hoccleve, 1420). The Old French word for "yawn" was "baer," which joined the prefix "a-" ("in a state or condition of") to form "abaer," a verb meaning "to expect" or "await." There followed Anglo-French "abeyance," which referred to a state of expectation-specifically, a person's expectation of inheriting a title or property. But when we adopted "abeyance" into English in the 16th century, we applied the expectation to the property itself: a property or title "in abeyance" is in temporary limbo, waiting to be claimed by a rightful heir or owner.
Our plans to go for a bike ride were in abeyance until the weather cleared up.
"The remaining $5,000 of the fine is held in abeyance and will not have to be paid unless additional violations are committed by the Venice baseball program during the probationary period."-From an article by Dennis Maffezzoli in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune (Florida), January 23, 2012
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
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