Definition of abort in English:



[with object]
  • 1Carry out or undergo the abortion of (a fetus)

    ‘the decision to abort the fetus’
    no object ‘many doctors assume that women who undergo testing would choose to abort’
    • ‘Most trisomy fetuses are spontaneously aborted.’
    • ‘The Bill also allows the victims of rape or incest to abort the fetus till 18 weeks.’
    • ‘I am not planning to abort the fetus, if that is what you are asking.’
    • ‘This is not using aborted embryos, this is done by cell lines.’
    • ‘No, you capitalize on their imagination of the immoral - bring on images of unreproductive sexuality and aborted fetuses.’
    • ‘Since it has become possible to determine the sex of a fetus in utero, tens of thousands of female fetuses are aborted every year.’
    • ‘The doctor's liability for destroying a fertilized embryo that the woman has abandoned may be very different from his liability for aborting a fertilized embryo with her consent.’
    • ‘When a couple have decided to have only one child and they abort a fetus with a severe disorder, the child they later do have can be seen as replacing the one who would have been born.’
    • ‘We were not able to determine the genotype of these aborted embryos.’
    • ‘A suit of this kind, considered a case of ‘wrongful birth,’ assumes that the obstetrician's negligence denied the parents the option of aborting a defective fetus.’
    • ‘Scientists were harvesting these stem cells from embryos left over from IVF treatments or using aborted embryos.’
    • ‘Just across the way, though, in equally large letters, the advertisement above a medical clinic touted ultrasound tests, which have long been used in China to detect the sex of babies, as a prelude to aborting female fetuses.’
    • ‘Would it be morally permissible for her to become pregnant with the aim of aborting the embryo immediately?’
    • ‘Did she believe she was killing a baby each time she aborted a fetus?’
    • ‘Remember, too that women with disabilities also choose to have pre-natal screening and may also choose to abort a disabled fetus.’
    • ‘The disease can cause female bison, cattle, and elk to abort their fetuses.’
    • ‘Medics say the trial - in which embryos were aborted at up to nine weeks old by taking a pill at home - was supported by all the women who took part.’
    • ‘Does the couple abort the fetus and then try again?’
    • ‘As they continue to fight, Mama reveals that Ruth is pregnant and thinking of aborting the fetus because of lack of money and lack of love from her husband.’
    • ‘Hindu ethics also do not justify aborting a fetus because of actual or potential deformity or mental retardation, for each birth, normal or not, is revered as having a divine purpose to be understood, not manipulated.’
    terminate, end
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    1. 1.1no object (of a pregnant woman or female animal) have a miscarriage, with loss of the fetus.
      ‘an organism that infects sheep and can cause pregnant ewes to abort’
      • ‘Picture what would have happened to the 14-year-old if she had aborted, and they had had their way.’
      • ‘On the phone, he'd said there were any number of reasons a cow might abort - including practically no reason at all.’
      • ‘She wouldn't have been able to if she and her boyfriend hadn't decided to abort when she became pregnant at 19 because they were too embarrassed to buy condoms in the small town in which they lived.’
      • ‘The study authors hypothesize an explanation: the reduced availability of krill during the summer feeding season is causing pregnant mothers to abort and calves to die.’
      • ‘But the full extent of the problem will not be known until Spring when the Brucellosis will cause pregnant cattle to abort.’
      • ‘One mare aborted in 1998 and developed mastitis, and this mare has experienced premature lactation in the subsequent years.’
      • ‘My mother told him she would abort, but instead packed up her stuff and ran.’
      • ‘But most of all, what stood out was the fact that these women aborted to preserve relationships.’
      • ‘The woman can abort anywhere, wherever she is at the time, it doesn't matter.’
      • ‘What, for instance, would stop Third World women being financially persuaded to become pregnant and abort to provide the cells?’
      • ‘Also it causes pregnant Vixens to abort, which again is very painful.’
      • ‘When she first told me she was pregnant she didn't take my calls for ages then rang out of the blue and said she was aborting.’
      • ‘Some animals, though, are never the same after - they may not thrive or gain weight well, and some pregnant animals will abort.’
      • ‘If an ultrasound reveals that a fetus is female, the woman may abort.’
      • ‘Many of these women aborted not to please themselves, but to preserve relationships: with their mothers, with their families in general, with their boyfriends.’
      • ‘Sheep are in these fields and, unfortunately, last week one aborted with the loss of two lambs.’
      • ‘Double-mutant embryos aborted at various stages of development and no double-mutant seedlings were obtained.’
      • ‘Some of these women could have aborted, miscarried, and given birth - or any combination of two - in the same year and ended up being counted a couple of times.’
      • ‘Aside from causing pregnant cows to abort, this would threaten the state's brucellosis-free status, and hence its vital livestock industry.’
      • ‘He would have had another baby before my sister, but the girl aborted and didn't tell him.’
      miscarry, have a miscarriage
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    2. 1.2Biology no object (of an embryonic organ or organism) remain undeveloped; fail to mature.
      • ‘When the gynoecium did not abort, F1 flowers were protogynous with the stigma maturing prior to the anthers.’
      • ‘Pistils aborting prior to silique formation are indicated with arrows.’
      • ‘However, in the inbred line 66% of second-ear branches aborted, and no plants had more than two mature ears.’
      • ‘If endosperm cell division is halted at an early stage, kernels abort and fail to set seed.’
      • ‘Usually, there are three flowering axillary buds plus a flowering terminal bud; sometimes the terminal bud has aborted and four axillary buds have developed fruits.’
  • 2Bring to a premature end because of a problem or fault.

    ‘the flight crew aborted the take-off’
    • ‘Johanson eventually received fuel from a British pilot whose expedition was aborted by bad weather.’
    • ‘Just a day earlier, an Australian transport plane took ground fire shortly after takeoff, fatally wounding an American passenger and forcing pilots to abort the flight.’
    • ‘He immediately notified the pilot to shut down the engine and recommended the pilot abort the sortie.’
    • ‘Hundreds of passengers were on board and only the quick reactions of one of the pilots, who aborted his take-off after reaching more than 115 mph, averted disaster.’
    • ‘The pilot aborted the landing and flew the plane back to the North Sumatra provincial capital Medan where the flight had originated.’
    • ‘On May 22, a trial had to be aborted when the jury heard inadmissible evidence by mistake after a garda giving that evidence had failed to hear the judge's order.’
    • ‘The pilot had to abort take off because the BA supersonic jet had a ‘glitch’ in the computerised fuel management system which caused one of the four engines to over-accelerate.’
    • ‘At any time, however, if any doubt arises the pilot can abort the drop - caution is considered an asset.’
    • ‘The president's aircraft was about to land at Jacksonville Naval Air Station when the control tower ordered the pilot to abort his landing.’
    • ‘If a small bird makes a dent in a plane in flight, the pilot may abort the flight and bring the aircraft back for inspection.’
    • ‘Through heroic personal effort, he gets things under control, makes a safety stop and then aborts the dive.’
    • ‘Otherwise, the process will not be initiated or will be aborted prematurely.’
    • ‘The MyTravel pilot aborted take-off and performed an emergency stop of his Airbus A321 craft.’
    • ‘The result was that in many cases the Argentine pilots aborted their attacks or were otherwise unsuccessful in targeting the British ships.’
    • ‘The major alert was sparked off after a petrol-powered generator found on board forced the pilot to abort the journey and divert to Rome.’
    • ‘Some folks have reported dramatically lower speeds and others complained of frequent micro-outages causing downloads and other operations to be prematurely aborted.’
    • ‘Ten years ago a serious proposal was made to bring back trolleybuses to Bradford but the idea was later aborted.’
    • ‘After checking his instruments, the pilot immediately aborted the mission and landed safely.’
    • ‘In this way, if complications arise during or immediately after the first procedure and the second procedure must be aborted, the patient's most painful knee will have been replaced.’
    • ‘The take-off was aborted but 55 people died from smoke and fume inhalation.’
    halt, stop, end, call off, cut short, discontinue, terminate, arrest, suspend, check, nullify
    fail, come to a halt, end, terminate, miscarry, go wrong, not succeed, fall through, break down, be frustrated, collapse, founder, come to grief, fizzle out, flop
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informal, technical
  • 1An act of aborting a flight, space mission, or other enterprise.

    ‘an abort because of bad weather’
    • ‘Most takeoff and landing accidents would never have happened if the pilot had made a timely abort.’
    • ‘If an abort is attempted under such conditions, hydroplaning, which will cause severe control and braking losses, may occur at higher ground roll speeds.’
    • ‘Because of the heavy ordnance load, he continued with the takeoff, instead of executing a highspeed abort.’
    • ‘We passed 100 knots and entered the high-speed abort regime.’
    • ‘Most of those who fall victim to these kinds of accidents have neither planned nor been mentally prepared to execute an abort.’
    • ‘The contract includes a full-scale reusable system that will provide the capability to test technologies in a launch pad abort situation.’
    • ‘The cost of all of this new equipment came to a grand total of $260,000, qualifying our takeoff abort as a Class B mishap.’
    • ‘Maj Berge immediately called for an abort during this critical phase of flight.’
    • ‘The raid was cancelled when surrender discussions started, but the abort message did not reach the aircraft and 57 out of 100 dropped their bombs before an emergency flare signal was seen.’
    • ‘A mission abort was a serious issue and considered unacceptable.’
    • ‘The situation was set up to provide conditions that might closely resemble an actual NASA emergency abort landing.’
    • ‘A Hubble rescue mission would have to be prepared for a different orbit, different abort modes, and a different payload.’
    • ‘We never received an affirmative response from the tower to confirm our abort.’
    • ‘How often do you have a high-speed abort anyway?’
    • ‘We have specific steps to abort maneuvers and we practice aborts daily.’
    • ‘Two aborts, even a slow-speed abort, on a hot day can make these valves release tire pressure.’
    • ‘Statistically, one in 100 launches might result in a transoceanic abort landing.’
    • ‘Prognostics capability will make it possible to replace about-to-fail parts before they fail, reducing system failures, in-flight aborts, and aircraft accidents.’
    • ‘Because of bad timing and aborts, squadrons couldn't find each other.’
    • ‘Various low-probability emergency aborts may use the lakebeds but they are not primary abort sites.’
    1. 1.1 An aborted enterprise.
      ‘I've wasted almost a year on an abort’
      • ‘He had told him to be five minutes early and if Smolensk failed to show up, that would count as an abort.’


Mid 16th century: from Latin aboriri ‘miscarry’, from ab- ‘away, from’ + oriri ‘be born’.