Definition of abdicate in English:



  • 1[no object] (of a monarch) renounce one's throne.

    ‘in 1918 Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated as German emperor’
    [with object] ‘Ferdinand abdicated the throne in favour of the emperor's brother’
    • ‘Now, on the constitutional point you raised there, Larry, on the queen abdicating, well, it's a frequent topic of conversation.’
    • ‘Most of the rumors have old roots, going back to before King Edward VIII even abdicated his throne for Wallis Simpson.’
    • ‘In fact, he abdicated, offered the throne to his brother (who sensibly refused it [I think]) and Lenin seized power.’
    • ‘Following this the proud king abdicated his throne to his son Anandapala and committed suicide by climbing onto his own funeral pyre.’
    • ‘If the Tsar had abdicated, what would happen to us?’
    • ‘The Duke of Windsor, Edward VIII, is famous for abdicating the throne to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.’
    • ‘When King Edward VIII abdicated in December 1936 it was a shock to the nation.’
    • ‘In 1931 Spain's king abdicated, and a new republic was ushered in promising social change and progress.’
    • ‘This is the day that I officially abdicate from my throne and pass the kingship on to my successor.’
    • ‘King Zog abdicated the throne on 2nd January 1949 and died in exile in France in 1961.’
    • ‘In 1814, Napoleon Bonaparte abdicated as French Emperor and was banished to Elba.’
    • ‘Hindenburg also used his huge influence to persuade Kaiser Wilhelm to abdicate and to go to Holland.’
    • ‘The Duke of Windsor, briefly King Edward VIII before he abdicated to marry Mrs Simpson, also owned a Stannard watercolour.’
    • ‘In September he abdicated and Bolingbroke ascended the throne as King Henry IV.’
    • ‘She was ten when her father Albert, Duke of York, became king after Edward VIII abdicated in 1936.’
    • ‘The King abdicated in Bavaria, and a republican ‘Free State of Bavaria’ was proclaimed.’
    • ‘Edward VIII abdicated after a reign of 325 days, in favour of his brother, the Duke of York, who became King George VI.’
    • ‘Which king abdicated from the British throne in 1936?’
    • ‘In 1967, Sultan Omar abdicated in favor of his eldest son, Hassanal Bolkiah, who became the 29th ruler.’
    • ‘The Habsburg and Hohenzollern dynasties abdicated, following the Romanovs.’
    resign, retire, quit, stand down, step down, bow out, renounce the throne
    resign from, relinquish, renounce, give up, hand over, turn over, deliver up, surrender, vacate, forswear, abjure, cede
    View synonyms
  • 2[with object] Fail to fulfil or undertake (a responsibility or duty)

    ‘the government was accused of abdicating its responsibility’
    • ‘Bradford licensing justices said that he had abdicated his duties as licensee to his brother Michael and his partner Claire.’
    • ‘Yet is it really fair to assume that parents have abdicated their responsibilities?’
    • ‘Otherwise, she is abdicating her responsibility as a reporter.’
    • ‘If we abdicate our roles as adults, it will be media and peers that educate our kids.’
    • ‘By abdicating its political responsibility the central cabinet seeks the Supreme Court's intervention to resolve the dispute.’
    • ‘Notoriously ill-informed over policy detail and often content to abdicate control, he nonetheless maintained presidential dominance.’
    • ‘He abdicated his role of objective journalist by repeatedly asking the envoy leading questions, loaded with venomous descriptions of the prime minister.’
    • ‘So do you think the networks are abdicating their responsibility to cover the substance of the campaigns?’
    • ‘What is startling about this statement is the degree to which this mayor is simply abdicating responsibility for governing the city.’
    • ‘He cannot envisage himself abdicating his moral responsibility in the matter.’
    • ‘But the bottom line as far as she is concerned is that builders and developers have been abdicating any responsibility in this area.’
    • ‘He took aim at the antiwar movement, whose members, he claimed, had abdicated their historic responsibilities.’
    • ‘Our failure to address this issue equates to abdicating our fundamental responsibility to the next generation of West Indian youth.’
    • ‘The problem is that everyone seems to have abdicated their responsibility by saying, we'll let courts decide.’
    • ‘It is Council responsibility to do recycling and we're abdicating our responsibility.’
    • ‘Once again the government is abdicating its responsibility and laying the blame elsewhere.’
    • ‘Governments around the world are abdicating their responsibilities to protect the natural resources in their territory, giving authority away to the private companies involved in resource exploitation.’
    • ‘The federal government should help states do their job, not assist them in abdicating their duty.’
    • ‘The problems arose because people were abdicating responsibility and were not getting the right person to do the job.’
    • ‘In many cases, it has become a code word for abdicating the responsibilities of political leadership.’
    disown, turn down, spurn, reject, renounce, give up, avoid, refuse, abnegate, relinquish, abjure, repudiate, waive, yield, forgo, abandon, surrender, deliver up, disgorge, cast aside, drop, turn one's back on, wash one's hands of
    View synonyms


Mid 16th century: from Latin abdicat- renounced, from the verb abdicare, from ab- away, from + dicare declare.