Definition of abject in US English:

abject

adjective

  • 1(of something bad) experienced or present to the maximum degree.

    ‘his letter plunged her into abject misery’
    ‘abject poverty’
    • ‘Just let me fall into bed and leave me to my abject misery.’
    • ‘Thus imagine the extent to which, for three quarters of the planet's population, most of whom live in abject and dire poverty, colonialism remains an even more tangible presence.’
    • ‘We cannot claim to be enjoying 15 years of Independence, while some groups live in ‘slavery’, misery and abject poverty.’
    • ‘Grant did not affect the mock shock of someone who has experienced abject poverty first-hand for the first time on any of her trips.’
    • ‘He looked about at all the imitations of himself, like a ring of mirrors each showing California in a state of abject want.’
    • ‘And now here I was, sitting next to the girl who had petrified me for most of my school years, and watching how abject misery had smudged her beauty.’
    • ‘The abject misery and utter abandon is positively indescribable.’
    • ‘Behind the colourless doors of these homes were people who still live in the misery of abject poverty.’
    • ‘I'm usually a sucker for full-on bad taste, but this was just so abject.’
    • ‘Cassandra, her older sister Rose and her younger brother Thomas are living in poverty even more abject than the Bastables, in a broken - down castle.’
    • ‘I mean, when I think of Cambodia in the 1970s, I think abject misery, suffering and genocide on a Stalin-like scale.’
    • ‘After all, there are only two ways to divert the attention of the international community from the more pressing and immediate problems of abject hunger and poverty.’
    • ‘The abject misery, the clearest glimpse of absolute evil, is almost impossible to describe.’
    • ‘People are having fun in this town, it's not all poverty and abject misery.’
    • ‘The setting is one of abject poverty and misery, yet the upbeat caption tells us that even victims of disaster need a good shoeshine.’
    • ‘The free market economy did not alleviate the abject misery of the poor.’
    • ‘However with no middle class, the vast bulk of its people are living in abject and unsustainable poverty.’
    • ‘A small exploitative class of intermediaries benefited enormously from the neocolonial relationship, but the masses were sunk in abject poverty and misery.’
  • 2(of a person or their behavior) completely without pride or dignity; self-abasing.

    ‘an abject apology’
    • ‘Since they are abject human beings, he implies, he does not have to engage them at that level.’
    • ‘Isn't humiliation on your own TV network, followed by an abject apology, enough?’
    • ‘On the few occasions I was driven to use such chastisement, it felt like an abject admission of parental failure.’
    • ‘My behaviour, when I am conducting perfectly legitimate activity such as registering an insurance claim, is one of abject apology.’
    • ‘If so, I would have to address it as men have always done: by persistence, alternating reasoned argument with abject pleas and fawning adulation.’
    • ‘That would do a whole lot more for civilised and democratic behaviour than abject capitulation to these self-evident hypocrites.’
    • ‘The thrust of both books is his failure to protect the national interests of Britain and his abject subservience to the United States.’
    • ‘However, this is actually an abject admission of failure.’
    • ‘I returned from Siberia to a mountain of furious letters to which I could only write abject apologies.’
    • ‘Now it was back to the bad old days of abject surrender.’
    • ‘This enhances our shock when the abject figure of Winston is finally revealed, stripped of all humanity.’
    • ‘The regime controlled every aspect of life and reduced everyone to the level of abject obedience through terror.’
    • ‘I answered, staggered at this abject rudeness.’
    • ‘It is behaviour of such abject venality as to be almost beneath contempt.’
    • ‘I compose abject apologies in my head and fill out the registration form.’
    • ‘From a position of optimism generated by a highly impressive presentation, potential winners had suddenly become abject losers, all the long hours of campaigning reduced to nothing.’
    • ‘Are parallels to the anarchic sensibilities of our own abject artists valid?’
    • ‘Apologies, official, abject, routinely demanded, and formally offered, are considered not just a right but a requirement.’
    • ‘Surely no financial inducement can be worth such abject loss of dignity.’
    • ‘Fine: then what is called for now is not triumphalism and gloating, but an abject apology.’
    obsequious, grovelling, crawling, creeping, fawning, toadyish, servile, cringing, snivelling, ingratiating, toadying, sycophantic, submissive, craven, humiliating
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Origin

Late Middle English (in the sense ‘rejected’): from Latin abjectus, past participle of abicere ‘reject’, from ab- ‘away’ + jacere ‘to throw’.

Pronunciation