• Abandon


    • RP IPA: /əˈbæn.dn̩/
    • GenAm IPA: /əˈbæn.dn̩/
    • InE IPA: /əˈbæn.ɖən/

    Origin 1

    • From Middle English abandounen, from Old French abandoner, formed from a ("at, to") + bandon ("jurisdiction, control"),


    from Late Latin bannum ("proclamation"), bannus,


    bandum, from Frankish *ban, *bann, from Proto-Germanic *bannaną ("to proclaim, command") (compare English ban), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰeh₂-, *bʰa- ("to speak").

    • Displaced Middle English forleten () and Middle English forleven ().

    Full definition of abandon


    1. (transitive, obsolete) To subdue; to take control of. Attested from around (1350 to 1470) until the mid 16th century.
    2. (transitive) To give up control of, to surrender or to give oneself over, or to yield to one's emotions. First attested from around (1350 to 1470)
      • MacaulayHe abandoned himself ... to his favourite vice.
    3. (transitive) To desist in doing, practicing, following, holding, or adhering to; to turn away from; to permit to lapse; to renounce; to discontinue. First attested from around (1350 to 1470)
      • 2013-05-17, George Monbiot, Money just makes the rich suffer, In order to grant the rich these pleasures, the social contract is reconfigured. ...  The public realm is privatised, the regulations restraining the ultra–wealthy and the companies they control are abandoned, and Edwardian levels of inequality are almost fetishised.
    4. (transitive) To leave behind; to desert as in a ship or a position, typically in response to overwhelming odds or impending dangers; to forsake, in spite of a duty or responsibility. First attested in the late 15th century.
      • unknown date I. Taylor:Hope was overthrown, yet could not be abandoned.
    5. Many baby girls have been abandoned on the streets of Beijing.
    6. (transitive, obsolete) To cast out; to banish; to expel; to reject. Attested from the mid 16th century until the mid 17th century.
      • 1594, William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew, act I, scene ii:Being all this time abandoned from your bed.
      • Udallthat he might ... abandon them from him
    7. (transitive) To no longer exercise a right, title, or interest, especially with no interest of reclaiming it again; to yield; to relinquish. First attested in the mid 18th century.
    8. (transitive) To surrender to the insurer the insured item, so as to claim a total loss.

    Derived terms

    Origin 2

    • From French, from Old French abandon, from abondonner.



    (plural abandons)
    1. A yielding to natural impulses or inhibitions; freedom from artificial constraint, with loss of appreciation of consequences. Early 19th century.
      • 1954, Gore Vidal, Messiah:I envy those chroniclers who assert with reckless but sincere abandon: 'I was there. I saw it happen. It happened thus.'
      • 2007, Akiva Goldsman and Mark Protosevich, I Am Legend (2007 film):They needed to have an abandon in their performance that you just can’t get out of people in the middle of the night when they’re barefoot.
    1. (obsolete) abandonment; relinquishment.



    1. (obsolete, not comparable) Freely; entirely.
      • 1330, Arthour and Merlin:His ribbes and scholder fel adoun,/Men might se the liver abandoun.
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