View synonyms for abandon


[ uh-ban-duhn ]

verb (used with object)

  1. to leave completely and finally; forsake utterly; desert:

    The crew finally abandoned the sinking ship and boarded a lifeboat.

    He abandoned his wife and children, leaving them in poverty.

    Antonyms: keep

  2. to give up; withdraw from; discontinue:

    She had to abandon the research project when the grant money dried up.

    I’ve abandoned all hope of a stage career.

    Antonyms: start, begin, continue

  3. to give up the control of:

    After a long struggle, they abandoned the city to the invading army.

    Synonyms: abdicate, waive, resign, surrender, yield

    Antonyms: retain

  4. to yield (oneself) without restraint or moderation; give (oneself) over to natural impulses, usually without self-control:

    After the breakup, he fell apart and abandoned himself to grief.

  5. Law. to cast away, leave, or desert, as property or a child.
  6. Insurance. to relinquish (insured property) to the underwriter in case of partial loss, thus enabling the insured to claim a total loss.
  7. Obsolete. to banish.


  1. a complete surrender to natural impulses without restraint or moderation; freedom from inhibition:

    During this retreat you will learn to play and dance with reckless abandon.


/ əˈbændən /


  1. to forsake completely; desert; leave behind

    to abandon a baby

    drivers had to abandon their cars

  2. abandon ship
    the order given to the crew of a ship that is about to sink to take to the lifeboats
  3. to give up completely

    to abandon a habit

    to abandon hope

  4. to yield control of or concern in; relinquish

    to abandon office

  5. to give up (something begun) before completion

    the game was abandoned

    to abandon a job

  6. to surrender (oneself) to emotion without restraint
  7. 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


  1. freedom from inhibitions, restraint, concern, or worry

    she danced with abandon

Discover More

Derived Forms

  • aˈbandonment, noun

Discover More

Other Words From

  • a·ban·don·a·ble adjective
  • a·ban·don·er noun
  • a·ban·don·ment noun
  • un·a·ban·don·ing adjective

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of abandon1

First recorded in 1325–75; Middle English verb abando(u)nen, from Middle French abandoner, from Old French (mettre) a bandon “(put) under (someone's) jurisdiction,” equivalent to a “at, to” (from Latin ad; ad- ) + bandon, from Germanic band (unrecorded); bond 1; noun derivative of the verb

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of abandon1

C14: abandounen (vb), from Old French, from a bandon under one's control, in one's power, from a at, to + bandon control, power

Discover More

Synonym Study

See desert 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.

Discover More

Example Sentences

After an outbreak in Beijing in June, China abandoned its previous strategy of confining millions of people to their homes.

From Fortune

Today, Rollins has largely abandoned his pursuit of the bonus payments from Medicaid.

A lifetime after Stewart turned in her stepfather and was abandoned to his abuses, four words cut across the years.

Well 20 in the Midway-Sunset field was drilled in 1927 and abandoned by Chevron in the 1980s.

Shell’s experience in 2015, when it abandoned plans to drill offshore in the Arctic under heavy pressure, indicate what other companies can expect.

They tried to continue their getaway but had to quickly abandon their vehicle on the Rue de Meaux in the 19th.

Will he go for the schoolteacher and abandon the family, leaving behind his smashing dinner suits?

After the captain made the call to abandon ship, 150 people were able to escape on lifeboats lowered by electronic arms.

No one, of course, was “repressing” Klaus or preventing him from “expressing his views,” something he does with abandon.

The show started filming in Israel over the summer, but was forced to abandon the location as political tensions escalated.

Before daybreak we had ridden five and twenty miles, but had been compelled to abandon two more guns.

In case that they would not abandon the religion which they preached, the officials of Masamune commenced to execute their orders.

They spoke like this because they are accustomed to abandon altogether those whom they have once judged incurable.

This picture laughs, as children laugh, with perfect abandon.

There are those who tell us—and they number many millions—that we must abandon them entirely.