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90s Slang You Should Know


[uh-bey-uh ns] /əˈbeɪ əns/
temporary inactivity, cessation, or suspension:
Let's hold that problem in abeyance for a while.
Law. a state or condition of real property in which title is not as yet vested in a known titleholder:
an estate in abeyance.
Origin of abeyance
1520-30; < Anglo-French; Old French abeance aspiration, literally, a gaping at or toward. See a-5, bay2, -ance
1. remission, deferral. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for abeyance
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Volunteers had deliberately left in abeyance controversies which the Labour Army wished to fight out in advance.

    The Evolution of Sinn Fein Robert Mitchell Henry
  • Now that suggestion had been abandoned, or left in abeyance.

    Cousin Henry Anthony Trollope
  • Thus a right or estate which is in abeyance is one regarded with open-mouthed expectancy.

  • This was in the rainy season, when all farming operations are in abeyance.

    Sketches of Our Life at Sarawak Harriette McDougall
  • They were low enough to keep the black flies completely in abeyance, and the mosquito season was virtually over.

  • The school, the houses were hidden, and all civilization seemed in abeyance.

    The Longest Journey E. M. Forster
  • All this time religion was in abeyance, and only a weak echo of piety and asceticism remained.

    The Son of a Servant August Strindberg
  • That question of the nursery might, at any rate, remain in abeyance for twelve months.

    The Bertrams Anthony Trollope
  • His suspicions in abeyance for the moment because of his joy at seeing her alive and well arose with renewed force.

    The Chalice Of Courage Cyrus Townsend Brady
British Dictionary definitions for abeyance


usually preceded by in or into. a state of being suspended or put aside temporarily
(usually preceded by in) (law) an indeterminate state of ownership, as when the person entitled to an estate has not been ascertained
Derived Forms
abeyant, adjective
Word Origin
C16-17: from Anglo-French, from Old French abeance expectation, literally a gaping after, a reaching towards
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 abeyance

1520s, from Anglo-French abeiance "suspension," also "expectation (especially in a lawsuit)," from Old French abeance "aspiration, desire," noun of condition of abeer "aspire after, gape" from à "at" (see ad-) + ba(y)er "be open," from Latin *batare "to yawn, gape" (see abash).

Originally in French a legal term, "condition of a person in expectation or hope of receiving property;" it turned around in English law to mean "condition of property temporarily without an owner" (1650s). Root baer is also the source of English bay (n.2) "recessed space," as in "bay window."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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