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 had abandoned her family when he was just seven years old.’
    • ‘Her mother abandoned her on the steps of the home.’
    • ‘When my father abandoned us, my mother - a shy high school dropout who rarely drank - took a bartending course.’
    • ‘Is it a coincidence that he was abandoned by his mother?’
    • ‘His mother abandoned him at the age of three and he never even knew his father.’
    • ‘However, by early 2000, many old supporters were abandoning him.’
    • ‘His mother abandoned him and his father was a schizophrenic.’
    • ‘And, like her mother, she was abandoned by the man she loved.’
    • ‘For all I knew, he abandoned you in the desert and had come back, with you having no idea where he was going.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I want to ask him why he abandoned me and my mother and why he never showed his face to me.’
    • ‘He was accusing ME of trying to desert him, abandoning him.’
    • ‘She was abandoned by her mother when she was less than six months old.’
    • ‘Several actors who had supported his candidacy abandoned him.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As planes full of holidaymakers thundered overhead, the whimpers of a three-month-old child abandoned by his mother and father went almost unnoticed.’
    • ‘She is haunted by her former life and by the mother who abandoned her.’
    • ‘Getting to the point, one day my mother abandoned us.’
    • ‘His father abandoned him and his mother remarried.’
    • ‘Jones, it turns out, is Maggie's father, who abandoned her and her mother 30 years ago to run off with an Apache woman.’
    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’
      • ‘Smaller towns and villages were abandoned, and then cleared to make room for ever larger hyper-efficient farms.’
      • ‘In the Sea Islands cotton planters were unable to restore their plantations and abandoned the region.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When they abandon their fields to seek new ones, they also abandon their village sites.’
      • ‘Local elites abandoned the countryside for towns and had little contact with the peasantry.’
      • ‘And surely, I should feel equally sorry for myself - and for all those others like me who have abandoned such places.’
      • ‘I intend to abandon this city voluntarily after completing a certain experiment.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the early 1400s this increasingly complex culture crashed; the towns, villages, and canals were abandoned.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After months of madness in the house, they decided to abandon the place and move back to Philadelphia.’
      • ‘Omata settlers abandoned their farms and rushed for the safety of New Plymouth or the Omata Stockade.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Farms and towns were abandoned; their ruins can still be seen.’
      • ‘A quick visit to let you know that I've not abandoned this old place.’
      • ‘Instead of abandoning the city for the suburbs, neighborhoods have been revived, like Central Harlem.’
      • ‘The sites are usually abandoned, leaving the land infertile and the water polluted.’
      • ‘The place was empty, the freshmen abandoned their rooms for the promise of ice cream.’
      • ‘What I'm looking for is why this place was abandoned.’
      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 or look after them.
      ‘it was an attempt to persuade businesses not to abandon the area to inner-city deprivation’
      • ‘Areas of Bradford could be abandoned to floods as the cost of protection spirals, a conference was told yesterday.’
      • ‘If anything goes wrong, these expendable crews are abandoned to their fates - at sea or on land.’
      • ‘On 10 April, the tanks moved on and the museum was abandoned to its fate.’
      • ‘At worst, his colleagues have abandoned him to his fate.’
      • ‘But, unfortunately, some parents seem to be oblivious to this perception and abandon such children to their fate.’
      • ‘The 100 towns and cities that will be inundated by the rising waters have been abandoned to their fate.’
      • ‘Simply to abandon it to its commercial fate would be to make the mistake that was made in the US.’
      • ‘We abandoned them to their fate once before, and in their situation I'd suspect we'd do it again.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Angry survivors told how the captain fled his ship by lifeboat and abandoned passengers to their fate.’
      • ‘After their 15 minutes of fame, freed political dissenters are abandoned to a life of obscurity and poverty.’
      • ‘Look: he bares his teeth in death, snarling at the world that abandoned him to so sorry a fate.’
      • ‘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 course of action, a practice, or a way of thinking)

    ‘he had clearly abandoned all pretense of trying to succeed’
    • ‘Other countries have abandoned such practices.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But no cabinet level decision to abandon offensive biological warfare was ever taken.’
    • ‘Most of them abandoned the practice of martial arts altogether.’
    • ‘After he proposed numerous remodeling schemes, the clients opted to abandon the original plan in favor of an entirely new structure.’
    • ‘He abandoned his course of study at 21 when he was commissioned to write a history of Australian painting.’
    • ‘A small but growing number of urban, educated families are abandoning the practice completely.’
    • ‘A spokeswoman for the clinic denied they had abandoned the therapy course on the grounds of advanced age.’
    • ‘I was privileged to be secretary of the Navy when the decision was made to abandon the draft.’
    • ‘Have they made a strategic decision to abandon their nuclear ambitions?’
    • ‘Plans for a new city centre site were abandoned when the new plans were unveiled.’
    • ‘In addition, United's decision to abandon its workers' pension plan could reverberate throughout the industry.’
    • ‘On June 21, suffering from sunburn and a toothache, he abandoned the project.’
    • ‘Although trained as a physician, Haeckel abandoned his practice in 1859 after reading Darwin's Origin of Species.’
    • ‘There are vast schemes, abandoned because of some caprice. There are secrets which everybody knows and no-one speaks of.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Consistency and cost issues were key in Whitworth College's decision to abandon outsourcing.’
    • ‘Church of England bishops were formerly also bewigged, but abandoned the practice around 1840.’
    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.
      ‘against the background of perceived threats, the tour was abandoned’
      • ‘This afternoon's Uttoxeter card was abandoned because the course is waterlogged following heavy rain.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He added: ‘As far as I know nobody was injured at the incident, although the football match was abandoned.’’
      • ‘The original match was abandoned after 30 minutes with Croydon leading 2-0.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They had been forced to abandon the event ‘due to circumstances beyond our control’.’
      • ‘The Festival is finally abandoned after the confirmed outbreak just five miles away puts the track within an exclusion zone.’
      • ‘Teams will share points for matches being abandoned due to in climate conditions.’
      • ‘The men's event was abandoned while he was enjoying a comfortable lead.’
      • ‘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 traditional parade was abandoned on March 17 last year.’
      • ‘The match was abandoned when rain washed out play during the lunch interval.’
      • ‘Oil on the track forced the cancellation of the fourth race and the rest of the meeting was abandoned.’
      • ‘Sadly though, it then rained again and the match was abandoned.’
      • ‘The event was almost abandoned because of the lack of interest.’
      • ‘Three days of fog finally forced PGA officials to abandon the tournament.’
      • ‘Today's meeting was abandoned because of on overnight downpour.’
      • ‘Angry councillors abandoned a meeting in protest after it emerged the Mayor had snubbed them.’
      • ‘The referee refused to comment to the media afterwards why he abandoned the match.’
  • 3Allow oneself to indulge in (a desire or impulse)

    ‘abandoning herself to moony fantasies’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If you abandon yourself to love, you will soon attain full growth.’
    • ‘She abandoned herself to the role, identifying too strongly with the character and failing to put any insulating distance between herself and the part.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His bodyguard has abandoned himself to his repose.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘With their last hope of ever getting back their hard earned money blighted, they abandoned themselves to despair and thoughts of death.’
    • ‘The common perception is that dancers abandon themselves to passion.’
    indulge in, give way to, give oneself up to, yield to, lose oneself in, lose oneself to
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  • Complete lack of inhibition or restraint.

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

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A fire in the engine-room spread to the hold, causing the crew to abandon ship.’
      • ‘The order was given to abandon ship, and she broke in two and sank shortly after.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The resultant fire forced the ship's company to abandon ship.’
      • ‘The order was given to abandon ship and the lifeboats were launched.’
      • ‘Sir, get your dinghy launched and prepare to abandon ship if your boat is sinking.’
      • ‘For an hour her crew fought to save her before the order was given to abandon ship.’
      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’
        • ‘Tories face rock bottom as activists and captains of industry abandon ship’
        • ‘Media bosses, by contrast, seem not to be able to abandon ship quickly enough.’
        • ‘Before abandoning ship, try giving your boss some tactful feedback.’
        • ‘Our captains of democracy abandoned ship a long time ago.’
        • ‘If they choose to abandon ship during that period, most headhunters will provide a replacement service free of charge.’
        • ‘Democrats may be disgruntled, but they're not abandoning ship yet.’
        • ‘Some of the candidates abandoned ship beforehand.’
        • ‘Many Britons are choosing to abandon ship in search of sunnier climates.’
        • ‘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.’
        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 based on late Latin bannus, bannum (see ban). The original sense was bring under control later give in to the control of, surrender to (sense 3).