WATCH NOW: Why Is The Word "Abandoned" So Interesting?

WATCH NOW: Why Is The Word "Abandoned" So Interesting?

There's often more to the story when it comes with the word "abandoned." It's one of those words that makes a story a bit more deep and interesting.



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 formsa·ban·doned·ly, adverbhalf-a·ban·doned, adjectiveun·a·ban·doned, adjective

Synonyms for abandoned

1. discarded, rejected. 3. See immoral.



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.

Origin of abandon

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 formsa·ban·don·a·ble, adjectivea·ban·don·er, nouna·ban·don·ment, nounnon·a·ban·don·ment, nounun·a·ban·don·ing, adjective

Synonyms for abandon

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.

Antonyms for abandon

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for abandoned

Contemporary Examples of abandoned

Historical Examples of abandoned

  • 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.

  • 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



desertedan abandoned windmill
forsakenan abandoned child
unrestrained; uninhibitedwild, abandoned dancing
depraved; profligate


verb (tr)

to forsake completely; desert; leave behindto 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 completelyto abandon a habit; to abandon hope
to yield control of or concern in; relinquishto abandon office
to give up (something begun) before completionto 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 worryshe danced with abandon
Derived Formsabandonment, noun

Word Origin for abandon

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

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