[ uh-ban-duhn ]
See synonyms for: abandonabandonedabandoningabandoner on Thesaurus.com

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.

  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.

  1. to give up the control of: After a long struggle, they abandoned the city to the invading army.

  2. 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.

  3. Law. to cast away, leave, or desert, as property or a child.

  4. Insurance. to relinquish (insured property) to the underwriter in case of partial loss, thus enabling the insured to claim a total loss.

  5. 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.

Origin of abandon

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; see ad-) + bandon, from Germanic band (unrecorded); see bond1; noun derivative of the verb

synonym study For abandon

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.

Other words for abandon

Opposites for abandon

Other words from abandon

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

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use abandon in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for 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

  1. to give up completely: to abandon a habit; to abandon hope

  2. to yield control of or concern in; relinquish: to abandon office

  3. to give up (something begun) before completion: to abandon a job; the game was abandoned

  4. to surrender (oneself) to emotion without restraint

  5. 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

Origin of 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

Derived forms of abandon

  • abandonment, noun

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