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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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 His naïve insolence punctures the vanities of other filmmakers while offering no alternative, and the movie that results is a joyless, confused self-abnegation. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 11 Apr. 2022 That abnegation of critical judgment is the most important feature of the 1994 statement. Michael Bérubé, The New Republic, 21 Mar. 2022 Where to go in a world where every slight, every frown, every chagrin, every cloud and every rainy day is a cause for outrage, denunciation, shame, self-abnegation and maybe even a congressional investigation or two? WSJ, 14 June 2021 Many performers practice public self-abnegation about their talent. Washington Post, 12 May 2021 That abnegation is an illness that has reached pandemic-level proportions under the panopticon of white-supremacist patriarchy, which seeds division among women through social pressure. Washington Post, 28 Mar. 2021 Her thinking is already programmed for self-sacrifice; the self-abnegation of religion is only a quick step behind. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 6 Mar. 2021 In his telling, Klara’s self-abnegation feels both ennobling and tragic. Washington Post, 2 Mar. 2021 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, 26 Oct. 2020 See More

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.

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

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Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Abnegation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abnegation. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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