See more synonyms for abolition on Thesaurus.com
  1. the act of abolishing: the abolition of war.
  2. the state of being abolished; annulment; abrogation: the abolition of unjust laws; the abolition of unfair taxes.
  3. the legal prohibition and ending of slavery, especially of slavery of blacks in the U.S.

Origin of abolition

1520–30; < Latin abolitiōn- (stem of abolitiō), equivalent to abolit(us) effaced, destroyed, past participle of abolēre (cf. abolish) + -iōn- -ion
Related formsab·o·li·tion·ar·y, adjectivenon·ab·o·li·tion, nounpro·ab·o·li·tion, adjective

Synonyms for abolition

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Antonyms for abolition

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for abolition

Contemporary Examples of abolition

Historical Examples of abolition

  • Among the first to espouse the abolition doctrines was Judge Tilden.

  • Will you then ostracize the South and compel the abolition of slavery?

    Slavery Ordained of God

    Rev. Fred A. Ross, D.D.

  • Elijah Lovejoy, an Illinois abolition editor, was killed by a mob.

    The Nation in a Nutshell

    George Makepeace Towle

  • To the last he held to the great object of his life—the abolition of slavery.


    Samuel Smiles

  • This is to prevent emancipation, as they call it, or abolition, I know not which.

    Homeward Bound

    James Fenimore Cooper

British Dictionary definitions for abolition


  1. the act of abolishing or the state of being abolished; annulment
  2. (often capital) (in British territories) the ending of the slave trade (1807) or the ending of slavery (1833): accomplished after a long campaign led by William Wilberforce
  3. (often capital) (in the US) the emancipation of the slaves, accomplished by the Emancipation Proclamation issued in 1863 and ratified in 1865
Derived Formsabolitionary, adjectiveabolitionism, nounabolitionist, noun, adjective

Word Origin for abolition

C16: from Latin abolitio, from abolēre to destroy
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 abolition

1520s, from Middle French abolition or directly from Latin abolitionem (nominative abolitio) "an abolition," noun of action from past participle stem of abolere "destroy" (see abolish). Specific application to "opposition to the black slave trade as a political question" is first attested 1788.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper