abortion

noun

abor·​tion ə-ˈbȯr-shən How to pronounce abortion (audio)
1
: the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus: such as
a
: spontaneous expulsion of a human fetus during the first 12 weeks of gestation compare miscarriage
b
: induced expulsion of a human fetus
c
: expulsion of a fetus by a domestic animal often due to infection at any time before completion of pregnancy compare contagious abortion
2
a
: a misshapen thing or person : monstrosity
b
informal + sometimes offensive : something regarded as horrifically or disgustingly bad
3
: arrest of development (as of a part or process) resulting in imperfection
also : a result of such arrest

Example Sentences

a doctor who performs abortions She chose to have an abortion.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from Latin abortiōn-, abortiō, from aborīrī "to miscarry, abort entry 1" + -tiōn-, tiō, suffix of action nouns

First Known Use

circa 1537, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of abortion was circa 1537

Dictionary Entries Near abortion

Cite this Entry

“Abortion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abortion. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

abortion

noun
abor·​tion ə-ˈbȯr-shən How to pronounce abortion (audio)
1
: the termination of a pregnancy whether natural or caused artificially that is accompanied by, results in, or follows the death of the fetus
2
: failure of a project or action to reach full development
also : a result of such failure

Medical Definition

abortion

noun
abor·​tion ə-ˈbȯr-shən How to pronounce abortion (audio)
1
: the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, resulting in, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus:
a
: spontaneous expulsion of a human fetus during the first 12 weeks of gestation compare miscarriage
b
: induced expulsion of a human fetus
c
: expulsion of a fetus of a domestic animal often due to infection at any time before completion of pregnancy see contagious abortion, trichomoniasis sense b, vibrionic abortion
2
: arrest of development of an organ so that it remains imperfect or is absorbed
3
: the arrest of a disease in its earliest stage
abortion of a cold

Legal Definition

abortion

noun
abor·​tion ə-ˈbȯr-shən How to pronounce abortion (audio)
1
: the termination of a pregnancy after, accompanied by, or closely followed by the death of the embryo or fetus
especially : the medical procedure of inducing expulsion of a human fetus to terminate a pregnancy
2
: the crime of procuring or performing an illegal abortion
a conspiracy to commit abortionW. R. LaFave and A. W. Scott, Jr.
see also Roe v. Wade and Webster v. Reproductive Health Services

More from Merriam-Webster on abortion

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