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[uh-ban-duh nd] /əˈbæn dənd/
forsaken or deserted:
an abandoned building; an abandoned kitten.
unrestrained or uncontrolled; uninhibited:
She danced with abandoned enthusiasm.
utterly lacking in moral restraints; shameless; wicked:
an abandoned and dissolute ruler.
Origin of abandoned
Middle English word dating back to 1350-1400; See origin at abandon1, -ed2
Related forms
abandonedly, adverb
half-abandoned, adjective
unabandoned, adjective
1. discarded, rejected. 3. See immoral.


[uh-ban-duh n] /əˈbæn dən/
verb (used with object)
to leave completely and finally; forsake utterly; desert:
to abandon one's farm; to abandon a child; to abandon a sinking ship.
to give up; discontinue; withdraw from:
to abandon a research project; to abandon hopes for a stage career.
to give up the control of:
to abandon a city to an enemy army.
to yield (oneself) without restraint or moderation; give (oneself) over to natural impulses, usually without self-control:
to abandon oneself to grief.
Law. to cast away, leave, or desert, as property or a child.
Insurance. to relinquish (insured property) to the underwriter in case of partial loss, thus enabling the insured to claim a total loss.
Obsolete. to banish.
1325-75; Middle English abando(u)nen < Middle French abandoner for Old French (mettre) a bandon (put) under (someone's) jurisdiction, equivalent to a at, to (< Latin ad; see ad-) + bandon < Germanic *band; see bond1
Related forms
abandonable, adjective
abandoner, noun
abandonment, noun
nonabandonment, noun
unabandoning, adjective
3. yield, surrender, resign, waive, abdicate.
1. keep. 2. continue; begin, start. 3. retain.
Synonym Study
1. See desert2. 2. Abandon, relinquish, renounce mean to give up all concern in something. Abandon means to give up or discontinue any further interest in something because of discouragement, weariness, distaste, or the like: to abandon one's efforts. Relinquish implies being or feeling compelled to give up something one would prefer to keep: to relinquish a long-cherished desire. Renounce implies making (and perhaps formally stating) a voluntary decision to give something up: to renounce worldly pleasures. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for abandoned
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Why should she care for the decrees of a God who had abandoned her!

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • At length the horses and the greater part of the escort had to be abandoned.

    The Story of the Malakand Field Force Sir Winston S. Churchill
  • Almost always these abandoned children are the offspring of vice.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • You are right, I have abandoned worldly ambitions—most of them.

    Fair Margaret H. Rider Haggard
  • Heyward abandoned every hope, with the belief it was the signal that they were discovered.

    The Last of the Mohicans James Fenimore Cooper
British Dictionary definitions for abandoned


deserted: an abandoned windmill
forsaken: an abandoned child
unrestrained; uninhibited: wild, abandoned dancing
depraved; profligate


verb (transitive)
to forsake completely; desert; leave behind: to abandon a baby, drivers had to abandon their cars
abandon ship, the order given to the crew of a ship that is about to sink to take to the lifeboats
to give up completely: to abandon a habit, to abandon hope
to yield control of or concern in; relinquish: to abandon office
to give up (something begun) before completion: to abandon a job, the game was abandoned
to surrender (oneself) to emotion without restraint
to give (insured property that has suffered partial loss or damage) to the insurers in order that a claim for a total loss may be made
freedom from inhibitions, restraint, concern, or worry: she danced with abandon
Derived Forms
abandonment, noun
Word Origin
C14: abandounen (vb), from Old French, from a bandon under one's control, in one's power, from a at, to + bandon control, power
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for abandoned

"self-devoted" to some purpose (usually evil), late 14c., past participle adjective from abandon (v.).



late 14c., "to give up, surrender (oneself or something), give over utterly; to yield (oneself) utterly (to religion, fornication, etc.)," from Old French abandoner (12c.), from adverbial phrase à bandon "at will, at discretion," from à "at, to" (see ad-) + bandon "power, jurisdiction," from Latin bannum, "proclamation," from a Frankish word related to ban (v.).

Mettre sa forest à bandon was a feudal law phrase in the 13th cent. = mettre sa forêt à permission, i.e. to open it freely to any one for pasture or to cut wood in; hence the later sense of giving up one's rights for a time, letting go, leaving, abandoning. [Auguste Brachet, "An Etymological Dictionary of the French Language," transl. G.W. Kitchin, Oxford, 1878]
Etymologically, the word carries a sense of "put someone under someone else's control." Meaning "to give up absolutely" is from late 14c. Related: Abandoned; abandoning.



"a letting loose, surrender to natural impulses," 1822, from a sense in French abandon (see abandon (v.). Borrowed earlier (c.1400) from French in a sense "(someone's) control;" and cf. Middle English adverbial phrase at abandon, i.e. "recklessly," attested from late 14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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