Definition of abandon in English:



  • 1Cease to support or look after (someone); desert.

    ‘her natural mother had abandoned her at an early age’
    • ‘His mother abandoned him and his father was a schizophrenic.’
    • ‘But mothers who abandon their babies anonymously have no easy way to learn of the child's status or prove their maternity in time to appear and contest the adoption.’
    • ‘His mother abandoned him at the age of three and he never even knew his father.’
    • ‘His father abandoned him and his mother remarried.’
    • ‘Is it a coincidence that he was abandoned by his mother?’
    • ‘I want to ask him why he abandoned me and my mother and why he never showed his face to me.’
    • ‘Her mother abandoned her on the steps of the home.’
    • ‘His mother had abandoned her family when he was just seven years old.’
    • ‘She is haunted by her former life and by the mother who abandoned her.’
    • ‘Getting to the point, one day my mother abandoned us.’
    • ‘And, like her mother, she was abandoned by the man she loved.’
    • ‘However, by early 2000, many old supporters were abandoning him.’
    • ‘When my father abandoned us, my mother - a shy high school dropout who rarely drank - took a bartending course.’
    • ‘Several actors who had supported his candidacy abandoned him.’
    • ‘She was abandoned by her mother when she was less than six months old.’
    • ‘For all I knew, he abandoned you in the desert and had come back, with you having no idea where he was going.’
    • ‘Early in the novel, his mother, Rachel, abandons her husband and son, present thereafter only through a series of inscrutable postcards sent from the open road.’
    • ‘Jones, it turns out, is Maggie's father, who abandoned her and her mother 30 years ago to run off with an Apache woman.’
    • ‘As planes full of holidaymakers thundered overhead, the whimpers of a three-month-old child abandoned by his mother and father went almost unnoticed.’
    • ‘He was accusing ME of trying to desert him, abandoning him.’
    desert, leave, leave high and dry, turn one's back on, cast aside, break with, break up with
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    1. 1.1Leave (a place or vehicle) empty or uninhabited, without intending to return.
      ‘derelict houses were abandoned’
      • ‘Local elites abandoned the countryside for towns and had little contact with the peasantry.’
      • ‘We are amazed by the giant carved heads on Easter Island and wonder why they were done, who did them, and why they abandoned the place.’
      • ‘I intend to abandon this city voluntarily after completing a certain experiment.’
      • ‘After months of madness in the house, they decided to abandon the place and move back to Philadelphia.’
      • ‘When they abandon their fields to seek new ones, they also abandon their village sites.’
      • ‘Instead of abandoning the city for the suburbs, neighborhoods have been revived, like Central Harlem.’
      • ‘What I'm looking for is why this place was abandoned.’
      • ‘Omata settlers abandoned their farms and rushed for the safety of New Plymouth or the Omata Stockade.’
      • ‘The sites are usually abandoned, leaving the land infertile and the water polluted.’
      • ‘You know, I thought about it a little bit, but I realized that if I did that I would be abandoning the place that needs me most.’
      • ‘In the early 1400s this increasingly complex culture crashed; the towns, villages, and canals were abandoned.’
      • ‘The place was empty, the freshmen abandoned their rooms for the promise of ice cream.’
      • ‘Capital intensive agribusiness and the declining standards of living in the rural areas forced small peasants to abandon their land and settle in the cities in search of employment.’
      • ‘And surely, I should feel equally sorry for myself - and for all those others like me who have abandoned such places.’
      • ‘Smaller towns and villages were abandoned, and then cleared to make room for ever larger hyper-efficient farms.’
      • ‘Farms and towns were abandoned; their ruins can still be seen.’
      • ‘House builders have warned that Bradford workers could abandon the district because of a huge shortfall in the number of homes built in the next decade.’
      • ‘She guessed at where the path should be for a few minutes, but finally she admitted to herself that whoever had lived here had long since abandoned the place.’
      • ‘A quick visit to let you know that I've not abandoned this old place.’
      • ‘In the Sea Islands cotton planters were unable to restore their plantations and abandoned the region.’
      vacate, leave, quit, evacuate, withdraw from
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    2. 1.2Condemn someone or something to (a specified fate) by ceasing to take an interest in them.
      ‘an attempt to persuade businesses not to abandon the area to inner-city deprivation’
      • ‘Look: he bares his teeth in death, snarling at the world that abandoned him to so sorry a fate.’
      • ‘If anything goes wrong, these expendable crews are abandoned to their fates - at sea or on land.’
      • ‘Simply to abandon it to its commercial fate would be to make the mistake that was made in the US.’
      • ‘But, unfortunately, some parents seem to be oblivious to this perception and abandon such children to their fate.’
      • ‘He has been installed as a glorified mayor of the capital while the rest of the country has been abandoned to poverty, neglect, and warlordism.’
      • ‘Areas of Bradford could be abandoned to floods as the cost of protection spirals, a conference was told yesterday.’
      • ‘After their 15 minutes of fame, freed political dissenters are abandoned to a life of obscurity and poverty.’
      • ‘The 100 towns and cities that will be inundated by the rising waters have been abandoned to their fate.’
      • ‘At worst, his colleagues have abandoned him to his fate.’
      • ‘On 10 April, the tanks moved on and the museum was abandoned to its fate.’
      • ‘Angry survivors told how the captain fled his ship by lifeboat and abandoned passengers to their fate.’
      • ‘We abandoned them to their fate once before, and in their situation I'd suspect we'd do it again.’
      • ‘Under cover of darkness, a group of 30 men slipped away, abandoning their comrades to their fate.’
      relinquish, surrender, give up, cede, yield, leave
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  • 2Give up completely (a practice or a course of action)

    ‘he had clearly abandoned all pretence of trying to succeed’
    ‘negotiations were abandoned and fighting intensified’
    • ‘On June 21, suffering from sunburn and a toothache, he abandoned the project.’
    • ‘But no cabinet level decision to abandon offensive biological warfare was ever taken.’
    • ‘Have they made a strategic decision to abandon their nuclear ambitions?’
    • ‘Other countries have abandoned such practices.’
    • ‘After he proposed numerous remodeling schemes, the clients opted to abandon the original plan in favor of an entirely new structure.’
    • ‘In addition, United's decision to abandon its workers' pension plan could reverberate throughout the industry.’
    • ‘He abandoned his course of study at 21 when he was commissioned to write a history of Australian painting.’
    • ‘Rescuers abandoned attempts to find survivors after they found all 118 crew had died in the flooded vessel.’
    • ‘However, the company doesn't want to abandon the practice, and hopes new technology will improve the return on investment.’
    • ‘Most of them abandoned the practice of martial arts altogether.’
    • ‘Church of England bishops were formerly also bewigged, but abandoned the practice around 1840.’
    • ‘Although trained as a physician, Haeckel abandoned his practice in 1859 after reading Darwin's Origin of Species.’
    • ‘A small but growing number of urban, educated families are abandoning the practice completely.’
    • ‘Plans for a new city centre site were abandoned when the new plans were unveiled.’
    • ‘Consistency and cost issues were key in Whitworth College's decision to abandon outsourcing.’
    • ‘There are vast schemes, abandoned because of some caprice. There are secrets which everybody knows and no-one speaks of.’
    • ‘A spokeswoman for the clinic denied they had abandoned the therapy course on the grounds of advanced age.’
    • ‘The idea of a huge ring road around the city was abandoned in the late Seventies by the former West Yorkshire County Council.’
    • ‘However, fluoridation is a practice largely abandoned by Europe and the rest of the world because of suspected health risks.’
    • ‘I was privileged to be secretary of the Navy when the decision was made to abandon the draft.’
    renounce, relinquish, dispense with, forswear, disclaim, disown, disavow, discard, wash one's hands of
    give up, stop, cease, drop, forgo, desist from, have done with, abjure, abstain from, discontinue, break off, refrain from, lay aside, set aside
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    1. 2.1Discontinue (a scheduled event) before completion.
      ‘fans invaded the pitch and the match was abandoned’
      • ‘The Festival is finally abandoned after the confirmed outbreak just five miles away puts the track within an exclusion zone.’
      • ‘However, as a result of strong winds and driving rain, the team eventually decided to abandon the session.’
      • ‘Last year's event was abandoned after just two days when heavy rain and traffic chaos conspired to make it a wash-out.’
      • ‘The men's event was abandoned while he was enjoying a comfortable lead.’
      • ‘Angry councillors abandoned a meeting in protest after it emerged the Mayor had snubbed them.’
      • ‘They had been forced to abandon the event ‘due to circumstances beyond our control’.’
      • ‘In such circumstances sailors who do not have to go to sea do not go to sea and at half past ten on Sunday morning the decision was taken to abandon racing.’
      • ‘Sadly though, it then rained again and the match was abandoned.’
      • ‘The referee refused to comment to the media afterwards why he abandoned the match.’
      • ‘He added: ‘As far as I know nobody was injured at the incident, although the football match was abandoned.’’
      • ‘The recent heavy rain not only made the ground unsuitably soft for me so that my trainer Tim withdrew me from the race but the whole day's racing today at Thirsk was abandoned, with the course waterlogged.’
      • ‘The original match was abandoned after 30 minutes with Croydon leading 2-0.’
      • ‘Teams will share points for matches being abandoned due to in climate conditions.’
      • ‘The traditional parade was abandoned on March 17 last year.’
      • ‘Oil on the track forced the cancellation of the fourth race and the rest of the meeting was abandoned.’
      • ‘This afternoon's Uttoxeter card was abandoned because the course is waterlogged following heavy rain.’
      • ‘The event was almost abandoned because of the lack of interest.’
      • ‘The match was abandoned when rain washed out play during the lunch interval.’
      • ‘Three days of fog finally forced PGA officials to abandon the tournament.’
      • ‘Today's meeting was abandoned because of on overnight downpour.’
  • 3Allow oneself to indulge in (a desire or impulse)

    ‘she abandoned herself to his kiss’
    • ‘Great leaders have the strength to abandon themselves to the wild ideas of others.’
    • ‘There are moments in the column when he understands what a hopeless task he has taken on and abandons himself to the full intoxication of giddy absurdity.’
    • ‘With their last hope of ever getting back their hard earned money blighted, they abandoned themselves to despair and thoughts of death.’
    • ‘Yet when the temperatures go through the roof at home we tend to throw caution to the wind and abandon ourselves to the damaging rays.’
    • ‘The jaded actress gets yanked out of her state of limbo when she abandons herself to an affair with Tom, an American about the same age as her son, Roger.’
    • ‘But abandoning myself to paradise didn't last long.’
    • ‘Manoeuvering viewers into abandoning themselves to a story, as long as it's done thoughtfully and with respect, is what movie directors should know how to do.’
    • ‘She had abandoned herself to her longing for Carlos.’
    • ‘When you abandon yourself to pleasure and desire keep an eye on inner and outer balance, as you tend to overindulge.’
    • ‘Every year the city abandons itself to the heady allure of the world's largest arts festival.’
    • ‘You can abandon yourself to pleasure but need to keep an eye on over-indulgence.’
    • ‘His bodyguard has abandoned himself to his repose.’
    • ‘If you abandon yourself to love, you will soon attain full growth.’
    • ‘The common perception is that dancers abandon themselves to passion.’
    • ‘She abandoned herself to the role, identifying too strongly with the character and failing to put any insulating distance between herself and the part.’
    indulge in, give way to, give oneself up to, yield to, lose oneself in, lose oneself to
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  • [mass noun] Complete lack of inhibition or restraint.

    ‘she sings and sways with total abandon’
    • ‘Normally a creature of habit, he has changed coaches and routine with reckless abandon in the past six months.’
    • ‘In the first 25 minutes, there was some exquisite rugby, where the balance between well-judged enterprise and reckless abandon was carefully maintained.’
    • ‘This time around, reckless abandon has given way to cautious and deliberate strokes.’
    • ‘Chris danced with total abandon, just the way Nicole expected he would.’
    • ‘When one party is in power, they spend with reckless abandon.’
    • ‘I could no longer walk the plank or shoot down enemy fighters with the same reckless abandon.’
    • ‘France were much quicker in setting up scoring chances but they squandered them with the reckless abandon of a gambler, certain the luck would hold all night.’
    • ‘He plays with total abandon and can run right through block attempts.’
    • ‘All this is described with a certain gay abandon and without any overtones of regret, yet Wright's behaviour rapidly became self-destructive.’
    • ‘The results could be quite elegant, but sometimes lacked the feeling of abandon and adventure present in the music's greatest improvised solos.’
    • ‘Her Juliet is delicate and gentle, her suicide a mix of restrained classicism and abandon.’
    • ‘I drove recklessly and with total abandon as I sped as fast as I could through the suburban streets of Redmond.’
    • ‘The devices are now being used with reckless abandon.’
    • ‘They played and swam with the reckless abandon and joyfulness of three year olds.’
    • ‘We can't go wild and start attacking with total abandon.’
    • ‘Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.’
    • ‘I am saying that we need to proceed carefully, instead of moving forward with reckless abandon.’
    • ‘Later, he looked up into her eyes, and saw an odd concentration there, a lack of abandon.’
    • ‘Never had I seen him move with such abandon, such reckless expression of his feelings.’
    • ‘The bedroom is often the room where a favourite colour is used with relative abandon, but exercise caution, as it is very easy to use a colour to excess.’
    uninhibitedness, recklessness, lack of restraint, lack of inhibition, unruliness, wildness, impulsiveness, impetuosity, immoderation, wantonness
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  • abandon ship

    • 1Leave a ship because it is sinking.

      ‘a Mayday message was received before all on board abandoned ship’
      • ‘A fire in the engine-room spread to the hold, causing the crew to abandon ship.’
      • ‘The order was given to abandon ship and the lifeboats were launched.’
      • ‘All the ferry's passengers and crew had been ordered to put on life jackets and prepare to abandon ship.’
      • ‘The boat started sinking and we all had to abandon ship.’
      • ‘Sir, get your dinghy launched and prepare to abandon ship if your boat is sinking.’
      • ‘The resultant fire forced the ship's company to abandon ship.’
      • ‘For an hour her crew fought to save her before the order was given to abandon ship.’
      • ‘Submarines were supposed to surface and give crews time to abandon ship before sinking their vessels.’
      • ‘The men had no radio, lifejackets or lifebelts, and had been unable to abandon ship or attract attention to their plight.’
      • ‘The order was given to abandon ship, and she broke in two and sank shortly after.’
      vacate, leave, quit, evacuate, withdraw from
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      1. 1.1Hurriedly leave an organization or enterprise.
        ‘he would rather abandon ship now than resign in shame in two years’
        • ‘Some of the candidates abandoned ship beforehand.’
        • ‘Before abandoning ship, try giving your boss some tactful feedback.’
        • ‘Many Britons are choosing to abandon ship in search of sunnier climates.’
        • ‘Media bosses, by contrast, seem not to be able to abandon ship quickly enough.’
        • ‘Many will surely abandon ship in despair.’
        • ‘As tensions continue over the company's future, its executives have been abandoning ship at a rapid pace.’
        • ‘Tories face rock bottom as activists and captains of industry abandon ship’
        • ‘If they choose to abandon ship during that period, most headhunters will provide a replacement service free of charge.’
        • ‘Our captains of democracy abandoned ship a long time ago.’
        • ‘Democrats may be disgruntled, but they're not abandoning ship yet.’
        sell up, sell out, sell
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Late Middle English: from Old French abandoner, from a- (from Latin ad to, at) + bandon control (related to ban). The original sense was ‘bring under control’, later ‘give in to the control of, surrender to’( abandon).